DeMar DeRozan downplayed a published report that he would decline a $27.7 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent if an extension isn’t signed with the Spurs.
“Did my Mama say it?,” a smiling DeRozan asked reporters Tuesday night after San Antonio’s 119-109 win against the visiting Dallas Mavericks.
The 30-year-old, four-time NBA All-Star leads the Spurs in scoring (22.2 PPG) and assists (5.6 APG) while shooting a career-best 52.6 percent from the field.
“Who reported it? Did my Mama say it?,” DeRozan said. “Don’t listen to it then.”
It is unclear how the 30-year-old fits in the Spurs’ long-term plans, especially if the team aims to rebuild after a season in which it is struggling to make the playoffs. DeRozan has never been much of a defender, and his inability to shoot a volume of 3-pointers makes him an anachronism as a modern wing player.
Absent a new, long-term deal, it would make sense for DeRozan to test the waters of free agency, where he would be among the bigger names in a watered-down class. Seven teams — Atlanta, Memphis, New York, Detroit, Charlotte, Cleveland and Phoenix — are projected to have salary cap room this summer, putting them in a position to help DeRozan recoup the $27.3 million he would have to surrender in order to leave the Spurs.