With the NBA Draft and free agency fast approaching, there is plenty of speculation about what the Lakers’ next move will be. Los Angeles will likely either add Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons to its roster after the draft, leaving the center position as the largest need heading into free agency.
Despite the clear need for a center, there are reasons to believe the Lakers will look to add high level talent elsewhere on the squad as well. With a projected $60 million plus in cap space, the team will have plenty of chances to spend money at the guard or wing positions.
One candidate for that money, however, seems to have already been crossed off the list by Lakers management. (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll)
From @KevinDing with us @br_radio on #Lakers: “There’s a lot of presumption about Derozan and I’m told the Lakers aren’t that high on him"
— Noah Coslov (@NoahCoslov) May 29, 2016
DeMar DeRozan was widely viewed as a #FutureLaker especially due to his Compton and USC roots.
Nevertheless, it appears the Lakers are not as interested in the shooting guard as many presumed and it makes sense. DeRozan’s game does not necessarily fit on this roster. He is a ball dominant scorer who does his damage almost exclusively within the three point line. He is not a great defender and he is not big enough to play small forward full-time.
All of those aspects meant that DeRozan did not fit on a young roster in need of shooters and defenders despite the fact that he is an all-star caliber player. While the Lakers could have improved in the short term by adding his skillset, they may not have moved the needle far enough to justify giving the max deal that he will almost certainly get from his Raptors or another team in need of a scorer. He can probably live with that considering his comments about wanting to stay on the team that just won two games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Anything could change and the Lakers could still get a meeting with the LA native. But for now it appears they are not willing to give him a max deal to play in his hometown.