NBA Rumors: Buzz on DeMar DeRozan and Michael Beasley

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) in the first half of Game 7 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs are poised for yet another season in which they prove to be a tough out, but they aren't expected to do much beyond that. Gregg Popovich's squad has finished seventh in the Western Conference two years in a row, and a similar result seems likely considering how stacked the West is. The Spurs currently have the 12th-best odds to win the NBA title at +4000 (bet $100 to win $4,000), per Caesars

The team will lean on DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, two excellent players who nevertheless aren't the kind to drag teams to a title. Rather than start from scratch in a couple of years, the Spurs are reportedly considering making a big financial bet on DeRozan, according to Mike Finger of San Antonio Express-News:

"But Popovich genuinely likes the group he has assembled in San Antonio, and after outsiders speculated DeMar DeRozan might be used as trade bait this offseason, all indications are that the Spurs value his presence and want to keep him around. They have not yet offered him a maximum contract extension, but they have not ruled out the possibility of doing so before the season begins, either."

The 30-year-old was solid in his first season with the Spurs. He averaged 21.2 points and 6.2 assists per game, shooting 48.1 percent from the field. After dabbling with a three-point shot in his last season with Toronto (3.6 attempts per game in 2017-18), DeRozan reverted back to an inside-the-arc game with the Spurs (0.6 attempts per game). His offensive win shares also decreased, from 6.8 in 2017-18 to 3.6 last season, per Basketball Reference.

With those numbers, it's hard to see him as the face of a title contender. Popovich has always relied on balanced teams with a multitude of viable contributors, but Tim Duncan was arguably the best power forward ever and we all know what a talent San Antonio had in Kawhi Leonard.

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

DeRozan, who came to the Spurs in the Leonard trade, is already entering his 30s. Aldridge is 34 years old with two years left on his contract. DeRozan's contract would expire at the same time as Aldridge's, though he has a player option next year for $27.7 million, per Spotrac.

Extending DeRozan before the season means the Spurs also likely believe guys like Dejounte Murray and Derrick White will continue developing at a rapid pace. It's entirely possible, but unless they strike gold in free agency or the draft soon, the Spurs are staring at some leaner-than-usual years with DeRozan as the big-money play. 

As the NBA offseason winds down, teams are looking at filling out their final roster spots with project players or veterans. Sometimes, those guys are one in the same. The Detroit Pistons are reportedly taking a chance on Michael Beasley on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Beasley played sparingly last season for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 7.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game in 26 contests. He was included in a February trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, but the team waived him two days after the deal. Beasley soon signed to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China. 

According to The Athletic's James Edwards III and Shams Charania, Beasley passed on a guaranteed deal in China to take another shot at the NBA:

James Edwards III @JLEdwardsIII

Sources tell @ShamsCharania and myself that Michael Beasley passed on a guaranteed $2.6M deal in China in order to compete in camp on a deal with the playoff-contending Pistons. @ShamsCharania reported Thursday that the NBA suspended Beasley five games.

The suspension is for a failed drug test in late 2018, a period when his late mother had cancer, per Charania.

The 6'10" forward has never been able to capitalize on the talent that made him the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft, but he's a solid scoring option off the bench when healthy and focused. He's also still just 30 years old with a wealth of experience. Bringing him in and making him compete for a spot is smart bit of business for the Pistons.

Beasley was obviously going through a difficult time last year. This gives him a chance to show he still has something to offer to the league.