For a few weeks this past summer it very much looked like DeMar DeRozan would end up joining the Los Angeles Lakers. It got to the point where he began alluding to it on social media and even LeBron James commented on the seemingly pending move.
Then everything fell apart.
Rather than coming home to LA, DeRozan was shipped off to the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal. He would go on to sign a three-year, $82 million agreement with the organization. As a result of his influence, Chicago is now 10-4 on the year and sits second in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers, meanwhile, are 8-7 and seem to be in all sorts of trouble.
So how did a seemingly sure thing fall apart so quickly?
In a conversation with Chris Hayes of Yahoo Sports, DeRozan answered that very question.
“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal, that we were going to figure it out,” DeRozan. “I was going to come home. The business side of things just didn’t work out. Couple of things didn’t align. It didn’t work out. It’s just part of the business, part of the game. My next option was definitely Chicago. So, looking back at it, it worked out well.”
What specifically “didn’t work out”? According to DeRozan, his agent Aaron Goodwin was on the verge of getting a sign-and-trade done between the San Antonio Spurs and Lakers when the latter squad decided it would rather pursue Russell Westbrook.
“Russ is a Hall of Fame player,” DeRozan continued. “It’s hard to turn down that caliber of player. I can’t speak for the Lakers. They went with what they felt was best for them. All due respect to them. No hard feelings. No animosity, but I just look at it as part of the game. A deal is never done until it’s done. I learned that. It just didn’t work out. I’m just happy I’m in Chicago.”
DeRozan currently ranks fourth in the NBA in scoring with 26.9 points per game. Westbrook, meanwhile, leads the league in turnovers with 5.3 per outing. So far his season has been more notable for his fights with fans, altercations with referees and a bizarre gang signs controversy than anything he has done on the court.
Alex Caruso’s model girlfriend brought a special guest to the last Lakers game. https://t.co/6Kkvr8EbpU
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 17, 2021
If things continue down this path, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Lakers don’t come to deeply regret their decision to go with Westbrook over DeRozan this past summer.