DeMar DeRozan

Batum, DeRozan Among Players With Earlier Option Decision Deadlines

Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.

However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.

The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:

The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.

New Dates Set For Option Decisions, Salary Guarantees, More

As part of the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement terms that the NBA and NBPA have agreed to, a series of option decision deadlines, salary guarantee dates, and other offseason dates and deadlines have been pushed back.

We don’t yet have a full list that outlines how every date and deadline will be adjusted, but in cases where a deadline fell slightly before or after the start of the 2020/21 league year, those dates have been pushed back to coincide with the new start date for the league year, which will begin on October 19 rather than July 1.

For instance, as Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets, player option decisions for Gordon Hayward (Celtics), DeMar DeRozan (Spurs), Mike Conley (Jazz), and Andre Drummond (Cavaliers) will now be due on October 17 instead of June 29. Lakers big man Anthony Davis will have to decide on his 2020/21 player option by October 14, one day after a potential NBA Finals Game 7, Charania adds.

[RELATED: Re-Examining NBA Player Options For 2020/21]

Meanwhile, the salary guarantee date for four Knicks veterans – Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton – who currently have $1MM partial guarantees for 2020/21 will be October 17 at 3:00pm eastern time, rather than on June 28, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Additionally, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link) reported over the weekend, traded player exceptions that were set to expire in early July will have their expiry dates moved to corresponding dates in October. For example, since the free agency moratorium will now expire on October 23 instead of July 6, the Warriors‘ $17.2MM TPE that would have expired on July 7 will instead do so on October 24.

[RELATED: Outstanding NBA Trade Exceptions]

There are other deadlines that figure to be closely tied to the new league year as well. For instance, the deadline to tender a qualifying offer to a potential restricted free agent will likely be on October 17 rather than June 29.

Some date adjustments may be trickier to determine and will require further clarification. For instance, some players had been scheduled to receive full or partial guarantees if they remained under contract through August 1. That date may simply be shifted to November 19, one month after the ’20/21 league year begins. But the NBA has proposed opening training camps for next season on November 10, complicating that timeline.

And-Ones: Ujiri, DeRozan, Tomjanovich, Bates

While he’s on good terms now with former Raptors head coach Dwane Casey after firing him in 2018, Toronto’s president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri admitted to TNT’s Ernie Johnson this week that he hasn’t been able to mend fences in the same way with DeMar DeRozan. Ujiri shipped the longtime Raptors shooting guard to San Antonio in a 2018 blockbuster that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.

“With Casey, it has gotten so much better now with his family and him. With DeMar there is still plenty of work to be done,” Ujiri said, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “But, by the grace of God, it will all get better. We have to continue to make these decisions that are tough. But that’s the business of basketball, and the position that we are in.”

While recognizing that the NBA is a business, Ujiri said that making significant changes to a coaching staff or roster isn’t easy, especially when it means parting ways with someone he has gotten close to. “You feel it in your heart,” Ujiri said, per Bontemps.

“I always say that the two hardest things in our world, in our business, is trading a player and then when a player leaves, if a player leaves in free agency,” Ujiri said. “And it’s hard on both sides. When a player is traded, it is hard on the player side, and when a player leaves, like us (with Leonard last summer), it is hard on that side. I’ve experienced all of it, from wonderful people.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In a conversation with Michael Lee of The Athletic, former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich revisited some of the highlights – and lowlights – of his career and expressed gratitude at being elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month. “I had been through the phone calls several times and got the, ‘Sorry, not this year.’ And it was so good to hear them say, ‘Rudy, you’re in,'” Tomjanovich said. “Still getting use to it. Still bouncing on a cloud. I feel really good about it.”
  • After Emoni Bates became the first high-school sophomore to win the Gatorade National Player of the Year, Jared Weiss of The Athletic explores the 16-year-old phenom’s game and explains why NBA scouts are excited for his growth trajectory.
  • In the second installment of his breakdown of 2020’s free agent class for wings, Danny Leroux of The Athletic singles out Heat swingman Derrick Jones Jr. as one of the more intriguing options who will be available, since it’s rare for an established rotation player to reach unrestricted free agency at such a young age — Jones turned 23 in February.

Community Shootaround: DeMar DeRozan’s Future

The odds of the NBA finishing the full remainder of its 2019/20 regular season are essentially zero, which means the chances of the Spurs overcoming a four-game deficit in the standings and extending their playoff streak to 23 consecutive years are on life support as well. Even if the NBA is able to hold a postseason in 2020, San Antonio almost certainly won’t be a part of it, so the team may feel more pressure than usual to shake things up in the offseason.

One key storyline to watch after the season ends will be DeMar DeRozan‘s future. He holds a $27.7MM player option for the 2020/21 campaign, and with little league-wide cap room available, his best bet may be simply to pick it up. As John Hollinger of The Athletic wrote this week, the veteran guard would have a better shot at a big payday in the summer of 2021.

It’s not clear whether DeRozan is leaning in that direction though. A March 11 report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports suggested the Spurs’ leading scorer plans to opt out of his contract in the offseason if he and the team don’t agree to a contract extension. The timing of that report is important though — it surfaced mere hours before news of Rudy Gobert‘s positive coronavirus test broke and the NBA landscape was thrown into disarray.

Given all the revenue the NBA projects to lose as a result of its stoppage – and given how that lost revenue may impact the salary cap – it would make sense if DeRozan re-evaluates his position and decides that opting in and securing a $27.7MM guarantee is the right move for next season.

There are other factors in play here though. For one, we don’t know for sure how much DeRozan actually likes playing in San Antonio. During a March radio appearance on ESPN San Antonio (audio link), Jabari Young of CNBC – who previously covered the Spurs for the San Antonio Express-News and The Athletic – asserted that the 30-year-old wasn’t thrilled with his current situation.

“I don’t have to sugarcoat anything: DeMar DeRozan is not happy in San Antonio,” Young said, per Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone. “The offense is not running as smoothly as one should think with a guy like him in the lineup. There are problems there. You have to decide if you’re going to take that money (and) come back to a situation that’s just not suitable.”

As Garcia observes, shortly after that ESPN San Antonio segment, DeRozan tweeted, “Who comes up with this s–t?” in an apparent reference to Young’s comments. Young followed up by publishing a long Twitter thread in which he highlighted his previous Spurs-related scoops and stood by his reporting.

Even if Young is right that DeRozan isn’t happy in San Antonio, the extent of that unhappiness is unclear — being frustrated with this season’s results and wanting out as soon as possible are two very different things. If DeRozan’s stance is closer to the former than the latter, he won’t be looking for an escape hatch at any cost in the offseason.

While DeRozan’s player option will give him a degree of power over whether or not he continues his career with the Spurs, the team could have a significant say too. San Antonio has typically been open to extensions for its veteran players in recent years and could go down a similar path with DeRozan, who is coming off one of the most efficient and productive offensive seasons of his career.

However, despite his impressive scoring and play-making, DeRozan remains a below-average defender. The Spurs’ 113.9 defensive rating with DeRozan on the court this season was noticeably worse than the team’s 106.7 mark when he sat. Overall, the Spurs had a negative net rating in DeRozan’s minutes and a positive rating while he was on the bench. Even if he opts in for 2020/21, perhaps San Antonio decides to make him available on the trade market in the hopes of retooling its roster and going a little younger.

What do you think? What does the future hold for DeRozan and the Spurs? Should either side be pursuing an extension? Will DeRozan pick up his player option for 2020/21? If he does, should San Antonio shop him? If he doesn’t, which teams could be fits in free agency?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

Western Notes: Johnson, LeBron, Aldridge, DeRozan

Cameron Johnson, who was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2019 draft, should see an increased role next season in Phoenix, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic contends. The Suns rookie had made 91 three-pointers in 49 games and his progression may allow the franchise to focus on other position as it looks to upgrade the roster this summer.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers star LeBron James is being sued by a photographer for posting content on his social media pages without permission, as I detailed on Heavy.com. The photojournalist captured a picture of James dunking on Meyers Leonard earlier in the season.
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News examines LaMarcus Aldridge‘s season and wonders if the 34-year-old big man has a lengthy future with the Spurs. Aldridge has one year and $24MM left on his deal after this season.
  • DeMar DeRozan‘s future with the Spurs isn’t certain either, as McDonald writes in a separate piece. The shooting guard is expected to decline his player option for next season and seek a long-term contract—either with San Antonio or another club.

Spurs’ DeRozan To Opt Out If Not Extended?

Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan intends to opt out of his contract this summer if he and the team don’t reach a contract extension by the end of June, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

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.”

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Spurs Rumors: Gay, Carroll, Belinelli, Bertans

The Spurs are “looking at everything” and weighing a variety of potential paths at the trade deadline, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on a Sunday podcast with Bobby Marks. At 22-26, San Antonio is 1.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Grizzlies and is at risk of missing the postseason for the first time since the turn of the century. The club will have to decide whether to push to continue that streak, take a step back and retool, or simply stand pat.

Having spoken with executives around the NBA, Jabari Young of CNBC Sports says there’s a belief the Spurs want to push for the playoffs. “They are 100% obsessed with getting that eighth seed,” one executive told Young.

If that’s the case, it wouldn’t make sense for San Antonio to trade DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge. However, moving Rudy Gay is a scenario that rival executives consider more realistic, Young suggests.

“If they get a nice asset back, I think they would do something with Rudy Gay, but I think their asking price is too high,” an exec told Young.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • In his conversation with Marks, Wojnarowski speculated that the Spurs may view the idea of trading veterans like DeRozan, Aldridge, and Gay as an “all-or-nothing” proposition. In other words, in the unlikely event that the team could move all three players and get good value back, it could be worth rebooting the roster. Otherwise, it might not make sense to move just one or two of them.
  • The Spurs are working with agent Mark Bartelstein in an effort to find a new home for little-used veteran forward DeMarre Carroll, according to Jabari Young. After signing a three-year deal with San Antonio last summer, Carroll has appeared in just 15 total games this season, including two since Christmas. He has admitted that his reduced role has been “difficult.”
  • According to Young, the Spurs are also shopping Marco Belinelli, a 37.5% career three-point shooter who is on a $5.85MM expiring contract. No serious suitors have emerged for Belinelli, who is considered a liability on defense, Young adds.
  • If Davis Bertans hadn’t been traded last summer, he would’ve seriously considered re-signing with the Spurs in the summer of 2020, a league source tells Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. That ship has probably sailed now though, according to Scotto, who revisits the saga that saw Marcus Morris renege on a free agent agreement with San Antonio. Morris didn’t tell the franchise directly that he was backing out of his commitment and the Spurs learned of his intentions after he failed to show up for his physical, says Scotto.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Wizards, Heat, Hawks, Magic

Following a tough loss to the Bulls on Wednesday night, Wizards star Bradley Beal voiced concern about his team’s culture, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. After telling reporters that he was frustrated about losing “winnable games,” Beal was asked if that losing builds up.

“I would hope it does,” Beal said. “I don’t like losing so it’s going to keep blowing up for me… Until we start winning and changing our culture.” Asked what a changed culture would like, the Wizards guard replied: Winning games. Get that winning attitude and winning habits.”

As Hughes notes in a separate article, the timing of Beal’s comments is interesting, since the 26-year-old signed an extension in the offseason despite recognizing it would be a challenging season for the Wizards. The team has been fun to watch and certainly hasn’t fallen short of preseason expectations, so Beal’s comments are a little surprising.

Pointing out that Beal recently co-signed a J.J. Redick complaint about some NBA players prioritizing fashion and social media over winning, Hughes wonders if that was just coincidental timing or if the Wizards’ star is frustrated by some of his teammates’ behavior.

David Aldridge of The Athletic, who heard from a source that Beal seemed as angry and emotional after Wednesday’s loss as he’s been since joining the Wizards, noted that Washington’s defense has been “spectacularly bad” this season and speculated that the team’s effort on that end of the floor may be a source of frustration for the All-Star.

As we wait to see how Washington responds to Beal’s concerns, here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggests that preserving 2021 cap room isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for the Heat if they find a trade they like, since the team believes it can acquire star free agents even without cap space, as it did last summer with Jimmy Butler.
  • Within the same article, Jackson also explores several trade options for the Heat, citing one source who says the team will likely be in touch with San Antonio. The Spurs haven’t given any indication they want to move LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan, but would consider Miami a potential trade partner if they do consider dealing either veteran star, says Jackson.
  • Count Trae Young among those who like the Hawkstrade for Jeff Teague. According to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Young referred to Teague as “one of the underrated point guards in our league” and praised the veteran’s ability to score, draw fouls, and get teammates involved.
  • With Michael Carter-Williams still battling a shoulder injury and fellow point guard D.J. Augustin out for at least the next three or four weeks with a knee issue, Magic head coach Steve Clifford said he’d speak to president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman about whether or not the team will make a roster move, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Orlando has a full 15-man roster, but Gary Clark is on a 10-day contract.

Southwest Notes: McLemore, Aldridge, Porzingis, DeRozan

Former lottery pick Ben McLemore has revitalized his career with the RocketsESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote an excellent profile piece examining the reemergence of McLemore in Houston.

On his third team in three years, McLemore seized his opportunity with the Rockets when injuries befell Eric Gordon and Gerald Green. McLemore has transformed himself into an effective catch-and-shoot option in Houston. For nine games starting on November 30th, McLemore averaged 14 PPG while shooting 39-of-85 from long range.

The first season of McLemore’s two-year, $4.4MM contract with the Rockets became fully guaranteed on January 10th. “I love Ben,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told Lowe. “All he was lacking was confidence and an opportunity.” The rangy, athletic McLemore is averaging 10.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 1.0 APG for the 26-12 Rockets. He is shooting 36.5% from long range on 6.7 attempts and 80% from the free-throw line.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The trade market stock of 34-year-old Spurs center LaMarcus Aldridge is rising, writes San Antonio Express-News reporter Mike Finger. Finger postulates that Aldridge would have net more interest as a trade piece than fellow 30+ former All-Star big man, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, who has been very, very vocal about being unhappy in Cleveland. Aldridge has emerged as a moderate three-point shooting threat for the first time in his career, knocking down 45.5% of his 2.5 attempts per game, both career highs.
  • Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis was given a platelet-rich-plasma injection to treat the soreness in his right knee that has kept him in street clothes for two weeks, according to ESPN’s Tim McMahon. Porzingis is also grappling with an illness that has slowed his recovery process.
  • Polarizing, old-fashioned Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan returns to the team for whom he made four All-Star appearances today, the Raptors, as Josh Lewenberg of TSN reports. His former teammate, current Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry, reflected on his contributions to Toronto basketball. “I think he poured his heart into the city,” Lowry said. “He gave the city and lot and the city [saw] him grow from a boy to being a man.”