Compton native and (at the time) free agent DeMar DeRozan was set to meet with the LA Clippers’ front office on Tuesday to discuss a potential homecoming, but the former Spur was reported to be signing a three-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Bulls just an hour after Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes broke the news of the meeting taking place.
The following day, Haynes revealed on the “Posting Up” podcast that the meeting never actually took place. Apparently, LA’s executives were told the meeting was off while they were en route.
The Clippers’ brass were driving,” Haynes said. “They were on their way to DeMar’s house. Things got a little more interesting with the Bulls. DeMar DeRozan’s agent, Aaron Goodwin...called the Clippers out of courtesy and was like ‘you know what, let’s not waste anybody’s time. Out of respect for you guys, let’s cancel this meeting.’”
The Clippers’ offer, if they were given the chance to make it, likely would not have been able to compete with that of the Bulls’. Like Chicago, LA would’ve had to acquire DeRozan via sign-and-trade, as they only had the $5.9 million Tax-Payer Mid-Level Exception to offer for DeRozan straight up. Even if LA were willing to give up key pieces of their rotation in a sign-and-trade, it would be tough to reach the figure the Bulls were able to get to.
Haynes made it clear that, while DeRozan was supposedly willing to take a bit of a paycut, $5.9 million was simply too low of an offer.
“DeMar DeRozan was not going to any team and taking the Mid-Level,” he said. “He wasn’t. Not the full Mid-Level, not the Tax-Payer Mid-Level. He wasn’t having it.”
DeRozan would’ve been a useful player for LA, particularly while Kawhi Leonard is recovering from his ACL surgery. He would’ve brought offensive creation, and the Clippers could’ve made up for his poor shooting ability by running their small-ball lineup around him. Even still, they clearly value their depth above all else.
The Clippers will now turn their attention towards retaining their own free agent, Reggie Jackson.