NBA Rumors: DeMar DeRozan, Spurs 'Quite a Ways Apart' on Contract Extension

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 18: DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during a pre-season game against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 18, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
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DeMar DeRozan may end up remaining with the San Antonio Spurs for the long haul, but for the moment, there remains a gulf in contract extension talks between the star wing and the team.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, "A source with knowledge of the situation says the Spurs and DeRozan have continued to discuss a possible extension, but the two sides remain quite a ways apart."

DeRozan does have a player option for the 2020-21 season at $27.7 million, though given the free-agent class next summer seems likely to be shallow on star talent, DeRozan could be line for a major raise on the market. 

As Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported earlier in October, the 30-year-old is eligible to sign a four-year extension worth around $150 million. The question for the Spurs, of course, is whether they want to pay that level of money to a player in his age-31 to age-34 seasons. 

"That's not on my mind," DeRozan said at the time, per Charania. "My focus is to go out there and hoop. How everything will unfold, that's how it will unfold."

The other question is whether DeRozan is at a level of stardom that makes him worth an average of $37.5 million a year. Last season he averaged 21.2 points and career highs in assists (6.2) and rebounds (6.0) while shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

But DeRozan's limitations are also pronounced. He's traditionally lived in the mid-range in an era that has been about spacing the floor and shooting threes. Last season, DeRozan shot a comical 15.6 percent from three, attempting just 45 shots from beyond the arc.

He's also an average-to-subpar defender. Add it all up, and DeRozan may give the team a solid scoring threat, but he has enough question marks in his game to question whether he's a player who should be receiving that $150 million max.

Granted, Charania reported in October that "one source who saw DeRozan work out this summer in Los Angeles told The Athletic that his shooting looks improved and his mindset will benefit from a full summer to digest the knowledge gained after a year in Gregg Popovich’s system."

So perhaps DeRozan will clean up some of his weaknesses. But even if he does, paying him max money would be a questionable investment. If the Spurs concur with that assessment, the gulf in contract talks between the two parties shouldn't come as a surprise.