After spending the last three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan hit the free-agent market this offseason.
The four-time All-Star is coming off a highly productive campaign, averaging 21.6 points along with a career-high 6.9 assists while shooting 49.5% from the floor. DeRozan’s market isn’t robust, but he possesses several suitors, several of which are eyeing him taking a pay cut.
As he looks to find his next NBA home, here are the five teams that should sign him.
5. San Antonio Spurs
Despite it being unlikely that DeRozan returns to the Spurs, the team holds a significant need to bring him back. He’s become the primary scorer and ball-handler over the last couple of seasons.
The 31-year-old’s presence certainly puts San Antonio in playoff contention, but not much further than that. However, the roster is relatively young and nowhere near an NBA title contender.
If it’s purely off need, the Spurs belong on this list.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
Before the Lakers made the big-splash move to acquire Russell Westbrook, traction continued to build around DeRozan joining the franchise. However, Los Angeles has significantly hurt its chance with the move as they can only offer the mid-level exception at $5.9 million per year.
It doesn’t rule out the possibility that DeRozan could still wear purple and gold next season, but the chances dwindled. It also doesn’t help that the Lakers are looking to beef up the roster with shooting around its star talent, which isn't DeRozan's strength.
Los Angeles will more than welcome the four-time All-Star, but the team isn’t banking on it.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
Like the Lakers, the Clippers hold the appeal for DeRozan to return home. However, the need is a bit different as the team is looking for another ball-handler and playmaker, especially with Kawhi Leonard expected to miss a significant chunk of next season.
The Clippers are also limited with salary cap space this summer, requiring DeRozan to take a massive pay cut. He will have a more definitive offensive role with Los Angeles with a chance to compete for an NBA title.
2. Dallas Mavericks
If the last two seasons didn’t demonstrate it loud enough: Luka Doncic needs help. The Mavericks have put a solid supporting cast around him, but it isn’t enough to elevate the team toward NBA title contention.
Kristaps Porzingis’ regression has only made the need for another star talent a must in Dallas. DeRozan isn’t the superstar talent that will get the Mavericks over the edge, but it certainly pushes them closer.
The former USC product could excel by feeding off Doncic’s passing while providing another proven scorer to ease the scoring load off his shoulders.
Outside of the Spurs, the Mavericks could also provide him the biggest payday.
1. Miami Heat
Before the start of free agency, the Heat wouldn’t have been high on the list for DeRozan’s services.
But Miami has quickly put itself on the radar after executing a sign-and-trade to acquire Kyle Lowry on a three-year, $90 million deal. It’s no secret that Lowry and DeRozan share a strong bond that extends far off the court from their time together with the Toronto Raptors.
The opportunity to play alongside Lowry again, while helping form a pseudo-Big 3 alongside Jimmy Butler sits as quite an appealing option. Beyond that, DeRozan’s addition would give the Heat a much stronger chance to come out of the Eastern Conference.
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