The Spurs have historically been averse to mid-season trades, having not completed a deal outside of the offseason since February 2014, when they sent Nando De Colo to Toronto in exchange for Austin Daye. However, as Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News writes, after a 9-15 start to the season, the organization will have to consider both the upside and potential downside of simply standing pat again.
Four-time All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan will have the ability to opt out of his contract during the summer of 2020, and while the Spurs seem unlikely to make a blockbuster deal by February 6, it might represent their last real opportunity to acquire something of value in exchange for DeRozan — if he opts for free agency and signs elsewhere, the club likely won’t have the cap flexibility to adequately replace him, Finger observes.
As San Antonio considers its options, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southwest…
- When the Spurs weigh what to do with DeRozan, they’ll attempt to determine what type of contract he might be able to command on the open market. Only rebuilding teams are projected to have cap room this summer, creating uncertainty about where a big payday for the veteran might come from, if not San Antonio. “I like DeRozan as my third option, and those type of players are not earning near max-type money,” one league executive tells ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link).
- Kelly Iko of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the renaissance of Ben McLemore, a former No. 7 overall pick whose days as an NBA rotation player appeared numbered before he bounced back with Houston this season. According to Iko, McLemore received a pair of guaranteed contract offers in the offseason, but chose the Rockets‘ partially guaranteed offer because they offered the best combination of playing for a contender and potentially earning a regular role.
- Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said this week that this year’s team is one of the quietest he has been around during his time in the NBA, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. As Guillory notes, that’s one reason why New Orleans’ defensive communication has been an issue all season long.