Earlier in the week, it was reported the Los Angeles Lakers would be interested in DeMar DeRozan if he opts out of his contract with the Toronto Raptors. With a projected $65 million in cap space this upcoming off-season, Los Angeles has another opportunity to land players that will help the rebuilding process.
With Kobe Bryant retiring at the end of this season and the Lakers 8-31, some are already looking forward to the NBA Draft and free agency. While the Lakers may lose their top-three protected pick to the Philadelphia 76ers (via Steve Nash trade), they are prepared to offer DeRozan a max contact starting at $25 million per season according to Zach Lowe of ESPN:
That starts with DeRozan, a lock to decline his option and hit free agency this summer. A bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting at $25 million per season, and the Raptors know they will have to spend big to keep him.
With the Lakers in the early stages of their rebuild, it is important that the young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson show what they are capable of. Through the midway point of the season, each prospect has played well in spurts and their development will be crucial in attracting free agents.
While DeRozan is reportedly loyal to the Raptors, the opportunity to receive a max contract and play in front of his hometown may be an enticing situation. Although the focus remains on the development of the young core, it will be interesting to see what happens as the Lakers are headed to the draft lottery for the third consecutive season.