No matter what obstacles may be in their way, the Los Angeles Lakers will always be linked to high-profile free agents every offseason. This offseason, the obstacle of the salary cap exists for the Lakers as they will look to improve on their 2020-21 roster that saw them eliminated in the first round at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. With free agents like Dennis Schröder, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Alex Caruso, this was never going to be easy. However, that doesn’t mean that players throughout the league don’t want the opportunity to come and play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Just ask the San Antonio Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan.
Here’s what DeRozan said about the possibility of playing for his hometown Lakers in an appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, “Club Shay Shay”. And yes, Shannon Sharpe has a podcast called “Club Shay Shay” (h/t Dime UPROXX as well as Jacob Rude/Silver Screen & Roll):
“You can’t ask a kid if they want to play at home (and think) they’ll say no. At some point, you will definitely want to have that opportunity, and especially if they want you. Why not? It’s a great opportunity.”
DeMar DeRozan tells Shannon Sharpe that he’d love the opportunity to play at home with the Lakers.
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) July 26, 2021
This seems to align with a recent report stating that he — as well as Kyle Lowry — had a mutual interest in a collaboration with the Lakers organization. This also isn’t the first offseason where we saw DeMar DeRozan get connected to the Lakers, as the Lakers were heavily rumored to be pursuing DeRozan with their first-round pick last season before using that same pick to acquire Dennis Schröder (Danny Green was also included with the pick in that trade with the Thunder).
If the Lakers wanted DeRozan, they’d have to convince Schröder to accept a sign-and-trade deal where they would send Schröder elsewhere. Due to the nature of the trade that helped the team acquire Schröder, they cannot replace the $16 million cap hit that Schröder occupied last season with an external free agent such as DeRozan. A sign-and-trade involving Schröder would relieve them of that burden, allowing them to then sign DeRozan.
The Lakers will probably continue to evaluate this option in addition to many other options to bring in a third star for the team. They’ve also been rumored to Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul in recent days.