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DeMar DeRozan just became a great trade asset

DeRozan picked up his option, but will he finish out the season with the Spurs? The PtR staff debates.

NBA: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We finally have an answer. DeMar DeRozan opted in and will be under contract for one more year with the Spurs.

But with San Antonio suddenly involved in more trade rumors than usual and the league already reporting some big transactions, his time with the Silver and Black might not be long. Now that he’s on a one-year deal, DeRozan could be the perfect target for good teams looking for an upgrade that doesn’t involve a long-term commitment.

Do you think DeMar DeRozan will end the season with the Spurs or be traded?

Marilyn Dubinski: If there’s a deal out there to be had, I think he’ll eventually be gone. I believe the Spurs love and respect him, and the feeling is mutual, but he’s not a part of their future plans, and they’d rather get something back for him in return than lose him for nothing next offseason. Even if he’s still with the Spurs at the start of the season, they’ll continue to test the market for him, and by the trade deadline there will likely be someone looking for a low risk, “one last piece” to make a playoff/extended playoff push.

Mark Barrington: I really don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other about how this is going to go. I think the Spurs are in a good position now, because with a one year contract at a reasonable salary, DeMar is a very tradeable asset, especially for a win-now team. But the thing is that the win-now teams that I can think of have already either made deals or are chasing superstars with attitude issues. I think it’s likely that DeRozan spends this year with the Silver and Black, and I’m OK with that. He showed he can play well with the young core in the bubble games, and I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do this year, even though I think the Spurs aren’t likely to contend unless they add someone to the roster that’s a real difference-maker. The best case scenario for this year if DeMar stays is that he’ll help whichever talented player the Spurs pick in the first round develop into a future star.

Bruno Passos: There seems to be enough smoke around San Antonio to make you think he’ll be moved, so I’ll say he finishes it elsewhere. I’m of the opinion that people are underrating the value DeRozan brings both as a floor-raiser and as a creator that allows others to play within themselves, but it makes sense to move on. Beyond the opportunities it’ll afford the younger guys, doing so would allow the front office to make better use of his cap space by targeting another quality player whose contract extends beyond next summer and, who knows, perhaps get an asset in the process.

Jesus Gomez: Ideally, he’d be gone before the season starts. DeRozan is a very good scorer and good locker room presence, but if he’s the best player on a team, that team won’t go far. If that wasn’t clear in Toronto it became so in San Antonio. On a contender looking for some extra shot creation or on a team that has not enough perimeter players who can score he could be much more useful than on a Spurs team that needs to empower its young players and could struggle to make the playoffs in the suddenly chaotic West.

Whether he’ll actually be traded before the season starts is hard to tell. Trade season has barely began but already been hectic and with the draft in the horizon there might not be enough time to set something up. The danger then would be for the Spurs to have a strong start that makes the front office decide to stay the course. Hopefully even if the team strings together some wins early in the season, they’ll continue to try to move DeRozan while they can still get something for him.

J.R. Wilco: I find it personally annoying that now is the time we’re discussing trading DmDr! At any other time in his tenure (except for his first weeks with the team when I was giving him the benefit of the doubt) I’d have been more than happy to talk through all of the teams that might have something to offer San Antonio in a trade for DeMar. But the last images I have of DeRozan playing were positive ones as he worked early in games to set up the young guys and had plenty in the tank to a) assert himself late in games when necessary, and b) actually exert himself on defense throughout the game ... and it turns out he can play some pretty respectable D. All this means that at the point I’m finally able to see a successful season with him playing a major role, it’s time to conversate about letting him go.

So if we’re going deal him, then I’d only want it to be for the chance to move up in the NBA Draft to get someone that PATFO has decided that they really like. If there isn’t anyone available, I’m going out on a limb to say that I’d be fine with him staying in SA through the entire shortened season — assuming he plays all 72 games the way he did in the bubble, of course.