With the Los Angeles Lakers 8-29 and headed to the draft lottery for the third consecutive season, some are already shifting their focus to the off-season.
As the franchise is projected to have at least $65 million in cap space, the development of the young core will be crucial in improving their chances of signing a star-caliber player. While the focus has been on Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan has an opportunity to opt out of his contract with the Toronto Raptors.
In a recent report, DeRozan is expected to opt out as he is eligible for a new deal that can start at approximately $25.3 million. If that is the case, his hometown team will be one of many teams interested in him according to Ryan Wolfstat of the Toronto Sun:
While his hometown Lakers surely will be one of those suitors — they long have had interest in the swingman — DeRozan has always been fiercely loyal to the organization that drafted him, paid him what at the time was considered above market value on an extension (eventually it became one of the shrewdest bargains of then general manager Bryan Colangelo’s career) and made him the face of the franchise. He loves the city and the fanbase arguably much more than Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter or Chris Bosh ever did.
Although the Lakers will reportedly be one of many teams interested in the swingman, it is important to note DeRozan is extremely loyal to the Raptors. While there will likely be speculation for the remainder of the season, the Lakers may have to look elsewhere.
Heading into the off-season, the Lakers will have another opportunity to sign a major player. With Kobe Bryant retiring at the end of the season, the Lakers will need to find a new small forward. Along with Durant and DeRozan, Chandler Parsons and Nicolas Batum are potential options for the franchise.