The Wrap-Up: DeRozan Exercises Player Option, Draft Updates

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 19: DeMar DeRozan #10 and LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs smile during a game against the Orlando Magic on December 19, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Let’s jump right into Monday’s Wrap-Up after DeMar DeRozan exercised his player option, four draft prospects mentioned the Spurs have communicated with them, a few mock drafts were released, and why Jakob Poeltl and Trey Lyles are the next two players to watch for offseason deadlines.

DeRozan Exercises Player Option

As Project Spurs’ Josh Paredes wrote earlier, DeRozan exercised his player option Monday for $27.7 million. The team announced the news officially Monday evening. With DeRozan exercising the player option, he are the two options he and the Spurs have left until his contract ends next season.

A third season together – The Spurs and DeRozan can simply go through another season together where he’ll be in the final year of his deal, then he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer. (There’s also an extension option, though that doesn’t seem likely right now.)

Trade Remains Possible – Now that DeRozan’s salary is locked in, the Spurs can look to move him through a trade if the right deal comes along between now and the NBA trade deadline (when the league sets an official deadline).

Draft Prospect Communication

Monday,’s Hector Ledesma reported draft prospects Zeke Nnaji, Isaiah Stewart, Jaden McDaniels and Vernon Carey Jr. have communicated with the Spurs.

According to our 2020 Prospects Draft board, McDaniels is projected to get drafted 24th in the first round, Carey Jr. 36th in the second round, Nnaji 26th in the first round, and Stewart 30th in the first round.

One interesting note, in their latest mock draft, the Athletic had McDaniels being selected 11th in the first round.

Mock Updates

On Monday, the Athletic, ESPN, and a few other draft sites updated their mock drafts. The two players who come in at 11th on our 2020 Draft Prospects board are 6’5″ Killian Hayes of Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany) and 6’6″ Devin Vassell of Florida State.

Here are the other players at 11th according to individual mocks: Saddiq Bey (on 2 mocks), Aaron Nesmith, and McDaniels.

As far as the second round, there’s no average pick at 41, instead the following players are listed at 41 on different mocks: Nico Mannion, Udoka Azubuike, Cassius Winston, and Paul Reed Jr.

Next Players to Watch – Jakob Poeltl and Trey Lyles

Now that DeRozan’s decision has been made, the next two players to watch for the Spurs’ offseason are Jakob Poeltl and Trey Lyles. The dates aren’t clear, but before free agency negotiations begin Friday, the Spurs will have to decide whether to tender a $5 million qualifying offer to Poeltl, which would make him a restricted free agent, and whether or not to guarantee Lyles’ $5.5 million full salary for next season.

With regard to Poeltl, if the Spurs make him a restricted free agent, there could be a decision they have to make regarding how much they want to offer him on a new deal if they want to retain the full mid-level exception worth $9.3 million.

Here’s the issue: If the Spurs renounce Bryn Forbes and Marco Belinelli, plus waive Chimezie Metu and Tyler Zeller, while keeping Poeltl’s $11.3 million cap hold, the Spurs are $2.3 million over the hard cap from using the full mid-level exception of $9.3 million on an outside free agent. If Poeltl signed a deal over $8.9 million, the Spurs would only be able to use the tax mid-level exception worth $5.7 million on another free agent. This means if the Spurs want to use the full mid-level exception of $9.3 million, there’s a limit to how much they can offer Poeltl or match on an offer sheet from an outside team. This is something to watch should the Spurs make Poeltl a restricted free agent between now and Friday.



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