3. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan watched the Toronto Raptors win the championship without him, less than one year after moving to the San Antonio Spurs, with Jakob Poeltl and a 2019 first-round pick, for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. It took a major roster change to take this team over the top, and the face of this franchise’s history had to watch and not partake.
The first season in San Antonio was fine for DeRozan, who shot 48.1 percent, but backed off the three-pointers, he tried taking in Toronto. That made him more efficient, but limited his impact on games.
The Spurs were still a playoff team, though, with the USC product and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the unconventional way. It was the former’s best year passing the ball and rebounding, so he did find other value beyond scoring the basketball, and that could make him more intriguing as a free agent in 2020.
DeRozan has a $27.73 million player option. If he exercises it, he will become a free agent weeks before turning age 31. The sooner, the better for him locking down a multi-year contract, and for potentially higher than his 2019-20 salary. That could leave the Spurs with a decision to make in 12 months, given their younger direction.
The New York Knicks could target DeRozan if they want a big name, but this is still not that top player to lead the way. Plus, it is worth evaluating RJ Barrett before bolstering this part of the backcourt.