San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan wants to play in his hometown, and the LA Lakers definitely listened in as the four-time All-Star expressed his desire in an interview. DeRozan and the Lakers could be a good fit next season if things work out.
"It's all about winning,” DeRozan said. “Going into my 13th season, seeing all these guys competing for a championship.”
When asked if it’s all really about winning and not about the team that will pay him the most, DeMar DeRozan talked about balancing both.
“You try to balance it as best as you can at this point,” DeRozan said. “You’ve got to weigh out the opportunity to win a championship kinda more, especially with the career I’ve had. I've been fortunate to make a lot of money, but the ultimate goal is to always compete for a championship."
The LA Lakers could create a formidable super team with DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, which would make them the overwhelming favorites to win the 2022 title.
Here are the 4 salary options for the LA Lakers and DeMar DeRozan to discuss this offseason:
Landing DeMar DeRozan in free agency isn’t as simple as it seems. For all his talk about a championship opportunity having more of an impact in his free agency decision this offseason, the money that he could potentially lose by signing with the LA Lakers could be too much for him even if he were to play in front of family and friends.
The sign-and-trade option for DeMar DeRozan would give the 13-year veteran the salary he deserves (possibly $15 to 20 million), as well as the chance to play for a title contender and come home at the same time.
But the LA Lakers are unlikely to agree to this arrangement, and the same may be true for the San Antonio Spurs.
Since the LA Lakers would be the team that acquires the signed-and-traded player, they would be hard-capped for the entire 2021-22 season, leaving them with only six players under contract. They would then have to fill out their roster using the veteran’s minimum as they won’t be allowed to exceed the $143 million hard cap.
Additionally, the LA Lakers would have to give up at least one of their players, presumably Kyle Kuzma, and maybe Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or the 22nd pick in the 2021 draft. Doing so would remove key players from their roster, and they would be hard-pressed to win a title next season, thus negating one of DeMar DeRozan’s reasons for wanting to play on the Lakers in the first place.
For the Spurs, salary cap expert Larry Coon explained it best during an interview with Spectrum SportsNet that this trade doesn’t benefit them much, even though they would receive a player with the potential to be a star in return.
“I don’t know that there’s any reason that San Antonio with all the cap room they have would be looking at doing sign-and-trade,” Coon said.
It's likely that the Spurs, the LA Lakers and Demar DeRozan will not see this arrangement as beneficial to any of them.