DeMar DeRozan admitted he’d love the chance to return to Los Angeles.
The Compton, Calif., native had confirmed interest in the Los Angeles Clippers, per Sports Illustrated, and had been asked by Shannon Sharp if he’d like to join arms with Lebron James and join his hometown Lakers.
“You’d love to have the opportunity to play at home,” DeRozan said on Club Shay Shay. “Especially if they want you, why not?”
The Los Angeles Times reported players needing to sign at a discount to play for either Los Angeles team that has contended over the past three years.
Instead, DeRozan made a money move, inking a three-year, $81.9 million deal with Chicago. The four-time All-Star still has plenty to prove at the 31 years old, which motivated both his choice to join the Bulls and the details of his contract.
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‘Every Guy on That Roster Has a Chip on Their Shoulders’
In his first media availability with Chicago press, DeRozan touted his reasons for joining the Bulls, most importantly the aspect of building something special like he once did with the Toronto Raptors.
“The Bulls, the history speaks for itself,” DeRozan said. “Second of all. Them making that next approach they haven’t had the best season the last few years and I kind of wanted to be a part of that and change it around. Bring back that winning mentality. Every guy on that roster has a chip on their shoulders.
“Myself, I always carried a chip on my shoulder. It’s so much there that could bring so much potential. It was something that was appealing to me that I wanted to be a part of let alone it being in Chicago, one of the greatest city’s in the NBA, with those elements all mixed into one, it was hard to turn down.”
Familiar with Nikola Vucevic from playing at USC and watching Zach LaVine’s to All-Star status, DeRozan is convinced his teammates want the same as him.
“Me knowing Vuc since college, I know what type of player he is, how bad he wants to win. Zach (LaVine) wanting to be on that main stage and wanting to compete for something much more than just stats during the season,” DeRozan said. “That’s where a lot of respect comes from, watching guys like Zach… You see them put in the work, how bad they want to win, how bad they want it and it’s just not about highlights and all-stars. It’s much bigger than that.”
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When asked about signing with the Lakers, DeRozan offered a genuine response to a period he called the first free agency of his career.
“That was really my first free agency in my career, so everything was so all over the place, and for me, it was filtering out what made sense for me,” DeRozan said. “Every day, I woke up to teams reaching out, players reaching and for me, it was just figuring out what made sense for me. I was just trying to figure out how to make my next move be something I was happy with that I wanted to do and had the best chance to prove something.”
DeRozan’s motivation also coincides with his contract structure. Confirmed by Sportrac, DeRozan will make $26 million this season and incrementally $1.3 million more each following year.
It’s not a significant pay gap, but it does offer DeRozan motivation throughout his contract and tenure as the Bulls’ lineup develops chemistry in the coming years.