DeMar DeRozan has lived up to expectations in San Antonio, but that doesn't mean his time with the Spurs has been easy. Replacing a team legend like Kawhi Leonard comes with a significant amount of pressure, and last season, San Antonio's 22-year postseason streak ended on his watch. He had to watch his former team, the Toronto Raptors, win the 2019 NBA championship without him, and rumors have suggested since then that DeRozan might not be happy in San Antonio.
If he wants to find a new home, he'll have the chance this offseason. DeRozan's contract with the Spurs will expire after the season, and according to The Athletic's Sam Amick, he plans to take a "wide open" approach to free agency. DeRozan will be one of the most accomplished players on the market after LeBron James, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert signed extensions before this season, so he should be able to generate sizable interest on the open market.
The Spurs have the most flexibility in the NBA this offseason. In theory, they could create almost $80 million in cap space. That would require letting go of veterans DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills and Trey Lyles, though. Considering the makeup of its current roster, though, the Spurs may be willing to do just that. In DeJounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, Jakob Poeltl and Devin Vassell, San Antonio has quietly amassed a significant amount of young talent. This offseason will be their chance to surround those young players with more talent on their timeline. If that is their plan, DeRozan will likely leave for a team closer to immediate contention. San Antonio already let go of fellow mainstay LaMarcus Aldridge.
A number of winning teams could potentially create significant cap space. Among them are DeRozan's former team, the Raptors, as well as possible contenders in Dallas, Miami and Memphis. The Knicks will also have max space and are always on the hunt for superstars. The proliferation of sign-and-trades in recent years should open up even more possibilities for DeRozan. He won't lack offers.
DeRozan has been an unrestricted free agent only once in his career, and he almost immediately re-signed with the Raptors. He is now 31-years-old and likely looking at the last major contract of his career. Casting a wide net makes sense, and it appears as if he will do just that.