If landing Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant in free agency was Plan A for the Los Angeles Lakers, it may be officially time to move on to plans B and C.
Durant reportedly has a list of teams that he will meet with when the free agency moratorium period opens midnight of July 1st, and the Lakers are not on it.
While every team in the league would love the opportunity to meet with Durant, this could be good for the Lakers, seeing as the odds of landing him were nearly impossible anyways. Now, they can spend their time on other free agents that they might have a more realistic chance of signing.
DeMar DeRozan has been a player that has seen his name linked to the Lakers for quite some time now, given his ties to the city of Los Angeles. Some previous reports have indicated that the Lakers were not interested in pursuing DeRozan this summer, but according to USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick, that may not be the case.
As for DeRozan, he has plenty of options on hold as well. The Lakers, who could wind up getting a meeting with DeRozan, in part, because he still resides there during the summer, are widely known to be very interested in making him part of their young core.
DeRozan is not an ideal fit for the roster and what Luke Walton wants to run, due in large part to his inconsistent defense and three-point shooting. But he would bring a considerable upgrade in talent as a two-guard that can score each and every night.
Lakers fans seem to be torn on the idea of bringing DeRozan in, for a variety of reasons, but as Amick adds, he likely will not be an option for anyone outside of the incumbent Toronto Raptors.
If the Toronto Raptors want DeMar DeRozan, they can have DeMar DeRozan.
All it takes is a five-year, maximum salary contract offer of nearly $153 million. Put that on the table when free agency tips off on July 1, and he may never even visit with another team.
Amick also notes that DeRozan may be willing to take less than a max contract if it helps the Raptors re-sign big man Bismack Biyombo, who played an instrumental part in the team’s deep playoff run. Biyombo, who will be highly sought after this summer, is reportedly willing to wait and see what happens with DeRozan, to see if he can re-join his teammate back in Toronto.
The Lakers need to add a center either through a trade or in free agency, and Biyombo is a player that would be a great fit because of his defensive and rebounding prowess. But if that situation works out in Toronto, that could be another option off the board for Los Angeles.
The start of free agency is just days away, but there are plenty of questions still left to be answered.