The Los Angeles Lakers made a lot of headlines this summer for their decision to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards.
Interestingly enough, they came extremely close to making a completely different trade altogether.
The front office took a very serious glance at bringing in then-San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan.
Ultimately, two factors prevented things from going down as proposed.
According to Bill Oram, Shams Charania, and Sam Amick of The Athletic, both of LA’s big stars were on board with the move.
“[DeRozan] took part in two such meetings at LeBron James’ home and had separate ongoing phone conversations with James,” they reported. “His conversations with the Lakers co-stars had gone well, with the then-soon-to-be free agent discussing all the ways in which he thought this new star trio might work.”
James, in particular, has made his opinion on DeRozan clear.
“…There was genuine excitement shared in the player meetings about how DeRozan would fit. Even if he wasn’t the Lakers’ first choice, it was easy to envision a scenario where he would be their best available option. For the Lakers, according to those with knowledge of the situation, it was imperative to keep as many potential avenues open as possible.”
Unfortunately, LA simply couldn’t settle with the Spurs on an appropriate price for DeRozan. Similarly, they couldn’t agree on what a suitable contract for the 32-year-old looked like.
“Sources said Pelinka and his front-office group strongly considered executing a sign-and-trade for the 32-year-old DeRozan, giving up Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope in the process, but couldn’t come to consensus terms with the Spurs in free agency or a suitable contract number for DeRozan,” the report added.
Instead of pulling the trigger on a DeRozan deal, the Lakers went out and acquired Westbrook.
A Chiefs player couldn’t stop checking out the owner’s daughter yesterday. The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/Dbk5ifxWwi
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 27, 2021
DeRozan, meanwhile, landed in Chicago.
After he repeatedly made his unhappiness with the Spurs abundantly clear, it would’ve been nice to see DeRozan come home to LA – but clearly that wasn’t in the cards. Aside from a growing crisis surrounding Zach LaVine’s future, the Bulls seem to be in a good place right now. Hopefully DeRozan ultimately finds a comparable level of enjoyment and success there as he would’ve with the Lakers.