Lakers’ general manager Rob Pelinka is never a stranger to making big moves during the NBA offseason and he could look to do so again this offseason for his organization. After being booted out of the playoffs in the first-round to the Phoenix Suns in early June, speculation began about what moves the Lakers would make to add more talent to their roster.
The ideas of trading for Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and even Kyle Lowry have remained key talking points for Lakers fans, but so has potentially going after Spurs free agent DeMar DeRozan. The soon-to-be 32-year-old wing just finished up his third season in San Antonio and is set to be one of the bigger names available in free agency this offseason.
DeRozan made $27.7M with the Spurs during the 2020-21 season, but now finds himself as an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He has not ruled out a possible return to San Antonio just yet, but DeMar DeRozan has made his intentions clear out wanting to test his value on the open market to see what kind of offers he will receive.
Right now, the Los Angeles Lakers have only seven players under contract, including Montrezl Harrell who has a $9.7M player option for next season, but they are already $9.9M over the salary cap. With Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker and others being free agents, the Lakers find themselves extremely tight financially, so how could they possibly go after DeMar DeRozan?
Nobody said it would be easy, but there are some scenarios in which the Lakers could add the 4x All-Star to their roster. One scenario is to add him via a sign-and-trade with San Antonio, allowing the Lakers to move guys like Kyle Kuzma, Ketavious Caldwell-Pope and potentially Montrezl Harrell, but there is a scenario in which the Lakers could sign DeRozan outright in free agency.
According to Broderick Thomas of The Los Angeles Times, DeRozan does have some interest in returning home to Los Angeles, even if he has to take a pay cut from the $27.7M he made last season. Whether or not he is willing to take close to a $20M pay cut to do so remains a big question mark, but DeRozan does seem intrigued by the idea of playing with LeBron in L.A.
During an interview with Shannon Sharpe on Club Shay Shay, DeMar DeRozan opened up about his free agency this offseason and seemed to be thoroughly entertained by the idea of playing back home in Los Angeles.
Seeing as DeRozan is interested in talking with the Los Angeles Lakers, this organization should be preparing to do everything they can to add him to their roster for next season. Bringing in DeMar DeRozan would surely mean that guys like Schroder, Drummond and possibly Caruso would be gone unless they are willing to return on minimum deals, but having three All-Stars on their roster would allow the Lakers to once again contend for a championship.