The Los Angeles Lakers had a couple of different options in the summer of 2021 and one of them was Compton native DeMar DeRozan. An unrestricted free agent, DeRozan had his eyes on coming back home and joining the Lakers following his stint with the San Antonio Spurs.
Despite DeRozan’s interest, however, the Lakers would ultimately choose to trade for point guard Russell Westbrook, basically ending any possibility of a homecoming for DeRozan. He would eventually pivot and join the Chicago Bulls, where he would have an excellent season, being named to the All-NBA Second Team.
As far as how close he was to coming to the Lakers, DeRozan was extremely open. In an appearance on The Old Man & The Three Podcast with JJ Redick, DeRozan revealed that he believed joining the Lakers was a done deal:
“To my knowledge, I thought it was a done deal.” DeMar DeRozan really thought he was going to be a Laker.
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) September 29, 2022
This is something that many fans of the Lakers will hate to hear as while DeRozan had the best season of his career in Chicago, Westbrook had arguably his worst in purple and gold. The fit for Westbrook with the Lakers simply has not been there and now hindsight allows everyone to look back at what could’ve been.
The Lakers reportedly had a deal in place to trade for sharpshooter Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings as well. Now with DeRozan revealing that he literally was on vacation waiting for things to work out so he could come to the Lakers, it just makes the Westbrook deal look that much worse.
Nonetheless, what’s done is done and the chance for DeRozan to be in purple and gold has passed for the time being. But the NBA is full of ‘what if’ moments throughout history and this is another big one for the Lakers.
DeRozan says James playing in Drew League was ‘special’
Even though he isn’t playing for his hometown team, DeRozan is still active around the SoCal area and one of the biggest things he is a part of is the Drew League. And when Lakers superstar LeBron James wanted to take part, he made the call to DeRozan.
Even though there were some issues, DeRozan still called LeBron suiting up for the Drew ‘special,’ pointing out all the kids who were able to see him play in person and believing that was something those children will remember forever.
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