As free agency approaches, teams are currently lining up to try and pitch top target Kevin Durant on the benefits of joining their respective franchise, including the Los Angeles Lakers who currently aren’t expected to get a meeting. After Durant, arguably the next best wing free agent is DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors who recently opted-out of his deal.
There had been some conflicting reports on the Lakers connection to DeRozan as some believed it was a foregone conclusion that the Compton-native would return home while others reported the Lakers weren’t that interested in him.
Following the Raptors’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals, however, it began to sound more likely that DeRozan would remain in Toronto, and according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, DeRozan won’t even take meetings with other teams barring unexpected issues:
Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan does not plan to schedule meetings with other teams at the start of free agency, opting to focus on working out a contract to return to the Eastern Conference finalists, a source told ESPN.com.
Before free agency has started, the Lakers already look to be out of the running for two of the top players in free agency. That doesn’t mean this summer is going to go like the last two, however.
The Lakers are expected to make an aggressive run at Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside and the team has also been linked to Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford. Signing either one of those big names would certainly make for a successful free agency period for the Lakers.
The Lakers have a lot of money to spend and there will be plenty of players the team will be pursuing this summer. Whether or not they are able to get their top targets remains to be seen, but it’s looking like a couple of names could already be off the board.