Amongst all players who are actually likely to hit the open market this summer, four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan is expected to be one of the most sought after free agents. After spending nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors, DeRozan has spent the last three years in San Antonio with the Spurs.
In the three seasons DeRozan played with the Spurs, he averaged 21.6 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 5.3 RPG on just over 50% from the field. DeRozan is certainly a polarizing player, because while he is very good at what he does well, his lack of a three-point shot has often put a ceiling on the potential of both he and his teams. In his three seasons with the Spurs, DeRozan shot just 22.7% from deep, and attempted less than one per game.
On Monday afternoon, ESPN's Marc J. Spears reported on The Jump that the Clippers were interested in striking a deal for DeRozan this summer. Spears' intel reportedly came from someone close to DeRozan.
Because DeRozan will command a salary well beyond what the Clippers can afford, their only chance at fitting him in the cap would be through a sign and trade with the Spurs. This would add DeRozan to the roster, but likely at the expense of Patrick Beverley, Luke Kennard, or Ivica Zubac. The logic behind the Clippers pursuing such a deal would be tied to their pursuit of winning now; however, that may become a difficult task with the depleted depth that such a trade would cause.
With Kawhi Leonard reportedly expected to miss the entirety of the 2021-22 NBA season, substituting a borderline All-Star like DeRozan in his place could be a potential motivator for the Clippers in this situation.
It is important to note that DeRozan is from the Los Angeles area, went to school at USC, and is reportedly intrigued with the idea of returning home to compete for a championship. This is an opportunity that would be available to him with either the Clippers or the Lakers, so it may come down to which team is willing to construct the most competitive trade package.