Did Lakers do DeMar DeRozan dirty?
DeMar DeRozan may have gotten DeWronged this past offseason.
The Chicago Bulls veteran, who erupted for a season-high 38 points in a win over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Monday, said after the game that he was fully expecting to end up with the Lakers over the summer.
“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal, that we were going to figure it out,” the L.A. native DeRozan told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports. “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.”
Haynes adds that DeRozan’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, had been working hard behind the scenes with San Antonio’s front office on a sign-and-trade that would have sent DeRozan to the Lakers. But though DeRozan believed that everyone was on the same page, the Lakers quietly began exploring another route once ex-MVP Russell Westbrook was made available for trade by the Washington Wizards. Goodwin, getting an idea of which way the wind was blowing, ultimately steered his client to Chicago instead.
The four-time All-Star DeRozan insisted though that he had no ill will towards the Lakers and pointed to Westbrook’s pedigree as a player.
“Russ is a Hall of Fame player,” DeRozan said. “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.”
For what it’s worth, DeRozan is outplaying Westbrook by several offensive metrics this season, specifically scoring output and efficiency. The Bulls are also a strong 10-4 on the year while the Lakers are just 8-7.
We know that the USC product DeRozan was heavily linked to the Lakers in offseason rumors. That the team decided to go in a different direction while seemingly on the one-yard line came as a surprise to even DeRozan himself.
Photo: Apr 7, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan (10) warms up before the game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports