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Potential trade destinations before 2021 deadline

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DeMar DeRozan
A DeMar DeRozan trade is possible before the deadline. Photo from Medium.
  • Spurs could look to trade DeMar DeRozan before the deadline
  • Plenty of teams might benefit from DeRozan’s scoring and playmaking
  • Which teams could make a deal work?

When the San Antonio Spurs finally missed the playoffs last season, there was a sense that they would be forced to dive deeper into the youth movement and rebuild. Dejounte Murray and Derrick White are two-way budding stars, and the oozing potential of Keldon Johnson is not something to overlook.

But hey, the Spurs are still in the thick of the playoff picture as they are sporting a 16-11 record to start the season. A whopping total of eight Spurs players are averaging double digits in the scoring column, led by DeMar DeRozan‘s 19.8 points per game. The 31-year-old DeRozan is also producing a team-high 21.6 player efficiency rating. That stellar PER is characterized by a career-best 6.9 assists per game while only committing 1.6 turnovers, his lowest since his rookie year.

Even with the decrease in his scoring averages, DeRozan is having his most efficient season in recent years. Interestingly, there were rumors prior to the season that DeRozan and the Spurs could be close to parting ways. DeRozan was apparently seeking a contract extension, but that didn’t gain serious traction. Even if these rumors aren’t true, it’s hard to imagine DeRozan re-signing in San Antonio when he enters unrestricted free agency this offseason.

With DeRozan’s much-improved efficiency, the Spurs front office could opt to move the veteran scorer while they could still nab an asset or two in a potential deal. We list down three teams who could be interested in nabbing the Spurs forward’s services.

Knicks

The Knicks may have to let go of Kevin Knox and another young player in this deal, but they would acquire a proven star to help in their chase for a playoff ticket.

If the partnership proves to be unsuccessful, DeRozan’s massive contract will expire after this season. But if it results in a playoff seat and a win or two in the first round, DeRozan could be inclined to re-sign with the Knicks. It’s a big market and this Tom Thibodeau-led New York squad is brimming with potential.

Julius Randle has grown into a star in his second year with the Knicks, but the team still needs a proven scorer who can come up clutch in big moments. There’s no doubt that DeRozan has the tools to do that yeoman’s job for the Knicks.

Bulls

Zach LaVine is having an All-Star year, and Lauri Markkanen is bouncing back nicely from a lowly performance last season. But this is still a young and inexperienced Bulls squad, and you could see that when their offense becomes stagnant in long spurts, forcing them to rely on LaVine’s shot-making to bail them out.

That is not a sustainable strategy moving forward, especially when they go up against formidable defensive teams.

That’s where DeRozan’s scoring and playmaking will enter the picture. DeRozan’s presence alone will keep opposing defenders guessing, providing LaVine more leeway to do what he brilliantly does on offense.

Nuggets

I know this is already often talked about, but Nikola Jokic needs more consistent help from his supporting cast. I emphasized the word “consistent” because there are nights when Jamal Murray would struggle so badly that he almost becomes a non-factor.

Murray is currently on an impressive scoring streak that saw him put up 50 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the Nuggets need more consistency from him if they don’t want to miss out on the playoffs.

On top of that, Michael Porter Jr. is also producing an underwhelming season so far. The Nuggets need another shot creator, and they have the assets to nab DeRozan in a trade. Throwing in Gary Harris and Will Barton could be the starting point of their negotiations with the Spurs.



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