Where Will DeMar DeRozan Sign In Free Agency?
Fans continue to anxiously wait for any update they can get on the status of the 2019-20 NBA season post-suspension. As summer draws near though, questions for the upcoming class of free agents begin to blossom; Where will Anthony Davis wind up? Who will be the biggest name on the trading block? One thing we do know is the status of DeMar DeRozan; Well, somewhat at least. It’s been consistently reported that DeMar Derozan will opt out of his 2020-21 player option worth nearly $28 million, and thus enter free agency.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) March 11, 2020
DeRozan has scored 22.2 points per game this season with the San Antonio Spurs. That scoring comes off the back of a career-high 52.6% shooting percentage. This marks his seventh consecutive year averaging 20+ points per game – one of just five players to do so in that time-span. The knowledge of the opt-out opens a much bigger question: Which team will Demar Derozan sign with in free agency?
Five Potential Suitors For Demar Derozan in Free Agency
The Magic were one of the quietest teams in free agency last summer, most notably resigning Nikola Vučević and Terrence Ross. Orlando’s gone just 30-35 this year, suggesting a timid off-season wasn’t what this team needed. Evan Fournier has the option to play for Orlando in 2020 and make $17 million, but it’s looking likely he’ll decline his player option. Fournier’s scored 18.8 points per game this year with a 40.6% three-point percentage, both making for career bests. Should Fournier test the waters in free agency, it would make sense for the Magic to target DeRozan. DeRozan has spent most of his career as a shooting guard and has proven he can be a capable leader during his years in Toronto. Should DeRozan want to take the mantle of team-leader again, Orlando is his best option.
Led by Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks emerged as a competitive team this season. That being said, the general perception is that Dallas is still one piece away from being a serious Finals contender. The teams third-best scorer, Tim Hardaway Jr., has worked up some trade value this year, shooting 40.7% from three with 15.8 points per game. If Dallas could find a way to trade Hardaway and his near-$19 million dollar contract, Demar DeRozan would be a fantastic signing. DeRozan is a seasoned veteran who has 58 playoff games under his belt; Doncic and Porzingis have a combined zero. Landing DeMar would instantly make Dallas a top team for years to come.
Who wouldn’t want to see this? A reunion between Toronto and their greatest franchise player may be wishful thinking, but it’s not out of the question. Fred VanVleet will be a free agent this offseason, opening up a spot next to Kyle Lowry in the backcourt should he not return. DeRozan and Lowry put together five straight seasons of 48+ wins before his sudden departure. Reuniting the two would only benefit the team, especially with rising-star Pascal Siakam in the mix as well. Money certainly wouldn’t be an issue, as the Raptors have the sixth highest luxury tax space next season. Bringing the four time All-Star back would be a story for the history books, especially if he could help bring them another Finals.
Los Angeles Lakers
This is a possibility that terrifies me as a non-Lakers fan, but it’s one that might just happen. The Lakers have essentially been a two-man team this year, depending heavily on LeBron James and Anthony Davis for most of their success as a team. Yes, they have solid role players such as Dwight Howard who are making an impact, but this team desperately lacks a third-option. They’re the only team in the league to have just three players score 10+ points per game, and one of just two teams with only two scoring more than 13 points per game. If the Lakers trade Danny Green and his owed $15.4 million dollars, signing DeRozan would make a lot of sense. Anthony Davis’s future as a Laker is uncertain, but what better way to draw him back to the team than sign a star like DeRozan? The addition would also allow Lebron to get more rest and lower his risk of injury as he ages.
Portland Trail Blazers
Of our five predictions, Portland’s definitely the least likely to happen. DeRozan becoming a Trail Blazer would entirely depend on whether or not the team traded CJ McCollum this offseason (which isn’t as crazy as you might think). As fun and talented as Damian Lillard and McCollum are in the backcourt, they’ve yet to make a Finals appearance together. Changing the team dynamic drastically may serve beneficial, and this is absolutely one way it can happen. If Portland trades McCollum to acquire help at the forward-position, they could replace the shooting guard with DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is a better overall scorer than McCollum, although the former of the two lacks a three-point shot. If the return for McCollum can help the team in that regard, as well as on the defensive end, then DeRozan would be an excellent fit in Portland.