Bulls’ DeRozan Pushes Back on Particulars of Rumored Lakers Deal

DeMar DeRozan Bulls-Lakers LeBron James

Getty Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan drives past LeBron James of the LA Lakers

For a player on the wrong side of 30, whose style of play has often drawn the ire of the analytical crowd, DeMar DeRozan’s 2021 offseason worked out amazingly well. Against all odds, he secured three years and $82 million via a sign-and-trade move to the Chicago Bulls and, now, he has the look of an MVP candidate.

However, there’s probably an alternate reality out there somewhere in which DeRozan opted to take a pay cut to play for his hometown Los Angeles Lakers instead.

Before he got the big payday in Chicago, DeRozan wanting to don the purple and gold was among the worst-kept secrets in the NBA. He later mused that he had thought the move was a done deal at one point.

For that to have occurred, though, the four-time All-Star would likely have been forced to take less money than he had become accustomed to. And according to DeRozan, reports of his willingness to take pennies on the dollar in order to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis were exaggerated.

DeRozan Was Only Considering a ‘Realistic’ Cut

Taylor Rooks’ latest conversation with DeRozan for Bleacher Report hit YouTube on Wednesday. During the course of their chat, the subject of the 32-year-old’s potential Lakers payday was broached, prompting the baller to push back on the notion that he had relegated himself to the bargain bin.

“For the sake of the report, were you going to take a substantial pay cut to be able to play for the Lakers?” Rooks asked.

Before she could even finish the sentence, DeRozan fired back.

“Substantial? I wouldn’t say substantial.”

When asked for clarification by Rooks, DeRozan had this to say bout what transpired over the summer:

It was an option, it was a real, realistic option… It was an opportunity for me to go home; you don’t get that opportunity often. I got it before but I decided to stay in Toronto. It was an option. [I] had the opportunity to play with one of the greatest players of all time — why not? It’s hard to turn that down, and then to compete for a championship in your hometown, like, all those elements had just lined up to allow me to consider a realistic pay cut.

Carmelo Anthony may have been willing to sign with the Lakers for the veteran’s minimum, but it would seem that DeRozan had his sights set higher.

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DeRozan Wanted New Challenges With the Bulls

Although there were a number of factors at play when DeRozan ultimately chose Chicago, he confessed to Rooks that the struggles the Bulls had faced in recent years actually played a part in motivating him to join the team.

“I love the challenge,” he said when Rooks mentioned the Bulls’ playoff drought. “That was my whole reason even coming here… was to take on all those challenges of what they haven’t done, what they couldn’t do, dealing with all the doubt. You always want to take on challenges and prove the naysayers wrong.

“As a competitor, you want those things. That was part of my motivation to come here. Every guy on the team — motivation.”


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