Lakers News: East All-Star Free Agent Amenable to Joining LA This Summer

Los Angeles is no doubt amenable to having him.
Feb 20, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Team Durant guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots between Team LeBron
Feb 20, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Team Durant guard Dejounte Murray (5) shoots between Team LeBron / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
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Six-time All-Star swingman DeMar DeRozan, a Compton native, was one of the Los Angeles Lakers' potential free agent targets during the team's ill-fated 2021 offseason, as All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis sought to form a fresh "Big Three" in Tinseltown.

Instead, they landed on former 2017 MVP point guard Russell Westbrook, for whom they offloaded much of their 2020 championship team. L.A. finished 33-49 in 2021-22 and ultimately had to trade Westbrook midway through the 2022-23 season to even make the playoffs. DeRozan, meanwhile, had the best regular season of his career after agreeing to a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls. He made an All-NBA Second Team and returned to the All-Star Game for the first time in years, while leading the Bulls to the Eastern Conference's No. 6 seed and a swift playoff exit.

Now 34, DeRozan is poised to become a free agent this summer, should he not agree to terms on a contract extension with Chicago prior to July 1. The 6-foot-6 swingman has performed admirably during his last two years with the Bulls, but the team's unwillingness to make any player-related trades at all or to add meaningful free agent additions has doomed it to two consecutive seasons of play-in misery. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago has reported that the Bulls tendered DeRozan an offer in the range of a two-year, $80 million deal to stick around.

When asked on FanDuel TV's "Run It Back" by cohost Chandler Parsons about whether he'd be interested in joining his hometown team, DeRozan offered a coy-if-open-minded answer.

"Everybody knows I'm a Kobe guy at the end of the day," DeRozan said. "Always been a Kobe guy. Been a Laker fan since Day 1. You can't never say no about playing home, especially if you're playing for a historic team like the Lakers. Time will tell, we'll see where the cards fall. Until then, I'll see what happens. I always want to be where I'm wanted."

Would DeRozan solve all of L.A.'s problems? No, but he is a great playmaker and efficient scorer who rarely gets hurt. He's flawed for a modern player (he doesn't defend well and is a low-volume three point shooter) he's but great at what he does well. Los Angeles could put together a package in a sign-and-trade deal that could probably allow him to get at least within a range of the money Chicago offered him, but it would limit the rest of the talent up and down the roster. Would it be worth taking the risk?

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Alex Kirschenbaum


Basketball is Alex's favorite sport, he likes the way they dribble up and down the court.