DeMarre Carroll: Reduced Role Has Been “Difficult”

After signing a three-year contract worth nearly $21MM with the Spurs this past offseason, DeMarre Carroll expected to play a regular role for the team, but that hasn’t been the case so far.

Carroll, who averaged 27.7 MPG in 140 games for Brooklyn over the past two seasons, has played just 10.9 minutes per contest in 2019/20 and hasn’t appeared at all in more than half of the Spurs’ games. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes, the veteran forward has been caught off guard by the string of DNP-CDs.

“I did not have this in mind,” Carroll said. “Every time I play a different team, they always ask what it’s like to play here. I literally have no clue. I have no answer. All I can do is just stay ready.

“… It’s very difficult, this right here,” Carroll added. “Establishing myself as a player in this league, then re-establishing myself. It’s definitely been difficult. It’s just been another bump in the road. I have to keep fighting.”

Carroll, who hasn’t seen any action since December 3, was one of the Spurs’ top targets in the summer — word of an agreement between the two sides broke within 90 minutes of the start of free agency. And while San Antonio’s agreement with Marcus Morris is frequently cited as the reason why the team had to trade Davis Bertans, the Spurs essentially chose Carroll over Bertans too — the three-way deal that sent Bertans to Washington brought Carroll to San Antonio via sign-and-trade.

Given how much the Spurs seemed to value Carroll, it’s surprising he hasn’t been used more, but players like Rudy Gay, Marco Belinelli and Lonnie Walker remain ahead of him in the rotation. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich praised Carroll for how he has handled the situation, as McDonald relays.

“He’s good people,” Popovich said. “At this point, it’s a new program for him and he’s got a couple guys ahead of him at that position. It’s been tough for him to get minutes, but he’s been professional about it and done everything I could ask.”

Despite being disappointed by not having a regular role for the Spurs, Carroll is trying to stay positive rather than griping about his minutes or requesting a trade.

“You don’t know when your opportunity will come,” Carroll said. “Maybe somebody will get hurt, you get traded, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to be ready. … You try not to have no hard feelings, because it’s going to come back to you. Pop’s the coach; he does what he wants to do. I just got to get ready to play when he asks me to.”

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