NBA Scout: Spurs Should Rebuild, Trade DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan (10) and LaMarcus Aldridge talk during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
Darren Abate/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs missed the playoffs one time after 22 straight appearances, and now the franchise might have to face the harsh realities of life as a lottery team.

"I think that they should pivot and rebuild," an NBA scout said to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.

The scout advocated for the Spurs to trade LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan.

San Antonio ended the regular season 11th in the Western Conference, not qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 1996-97. 

The scout's assessment illustrates how the Spurs are at a crossroads. Kawhi Leonard was supposed to be the bridge from the end of the Tim Duncan era to keep San Antonio in the title conversation. The direction of the organization changed drastically when he demanded a trade.

A roster that appears to possess a firm ceiling in a playoff context and on-court consistency have prevented the Spurs from gathering the kind of young talent who could serve as the bedrock of a new cycle of contending.

Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson form what could be a promising core, but none of the three has shown himself to be a true foundational asset.

The scout mentioned the possibility of a DeRozan trade, but the four-time All-Star can opt out and test the free-agent waters this offseason. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, DeRozan might struggle to match the $27.7 million salary he's due to earn for 2020-21. Securing a long-term payday could be his bigger priority, though.

Even if San Antonio keeps this group together, a rebuild might be inevitable. Assuming DeRozan opts in, he, Gay and Aldridge would all be on expiring deals.

The idea of the Spurs tanking with Gregg Popovich at the helm seems unthinkable, yet it might be their clearest path back to potentially challenging for a championship.