DeRozan, whose player option for 2020/21 is worth $27,739,975, must make a decision on that extension by June 29, per Basketball Insiders. DeRozan and the Spurs have until June 30 to agree to terms on a veteran contract extension.
DeRozan is having one of the best years of his NBA career, averaging 22.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 5.6 APG in 61 games (34.3 MPG). His .526 FG% is easily a career high. However, there are a few factors working against him as he nears potential free agency.
Among those factors: DeRozan will be entering his age-31 season in the fall; his mid-range game is out of sync with most teams’ offensive approaches; and he and LaMarcus Aldridge appear unlikely to lead the Spurs to a playoff spot this spring. On top of that, San Antonio has actually been better without DeRozan on the court (+1.0 net rating) than when he plays (-2.7).
This year’s league-wide salary cap situation is also a point in favor of DeRozan picking up his option. Only a handful of teams will have significant cap room available, and most of those clubs are in the process of rebuilding, reducing the odds that they’ll want to invest heavily in a veteran player like DeRozan.
Still, it’s possible this offseason will represent DeRozan’s best chance at one last lucrative long-term deal — he could comfortably exceed the amount of that $27.7MM option on a multiyear contract, even if he doesn’t match that salary in ’20/21. If he doesn’t reach an extension with the Spurs and opts out, that wouldn’t close the door on a possible return to San Antonio, according to Haynes, who adds that the Knicks are among the teams expected to be interested in the former ninth overall pick. A sign-and-trade to an over-the-cap club could also be an option for DeRozan.
If DeRozan doesn’t sign an extension with the Spurs, I imagine he wouldn’t opt out unless he has a solid Plan B lined up, like Al Horford did last June when he declined his $30MM+ player option with Boston. For his part, the Spurs’ leading scorer downplayed Haynes’ report when he was asked about it on Tuesday night, as Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio-Express News writes.
“Who reported it? Did my Mama say it?,” DeRozan said. “Don’t listen to it then.”