DeMar DeRozan Has Strong Words for Lakers Star Russell Westbrook

russell westbrook demar derozan

Getty Russell Westbrook guarding DeMar DeRozan.

In the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers were linked to a number of notable players. One of the names that kept getting connected was DeMar DeRozan. The four-time All-Star is from Los Angeles and seemed like a logical fit on the team. In fact, he was pretty confident that he was joining his hometown team.

He had his first game on Monday against the Lakers since he signed with the Chicago Bulls. He had a chance to do a deep dive on why he didn’t end up signing with the team in the offseason.

“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and that we were going to figure it out. I was going to come home,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. “The business side of things just didn’t work out. A couple of things didn’t align. It didn’t work out. It’s just part of the business, part of the game. My next option was definitely Chicago. So, looking back at it, it worked out well.

“But there’s always motivation. It may be just to come home and play in front of friends and family, competing against teams you grew up watching. There are all sorts of motivations that you carry and you try to channel that energy into the game. I find that in every game, but definitely coming back to your hometown, you want to play well and you have that motivation to put on a great show.”

DeRozan scored 38 points en route to a 121-103 win against the Lakers.

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DeRozan Discusses Lakers Picking Westbrook Over Him

DeMar DeRozan Bulls

GettyChicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan smiles on the court during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Had the Lakers not traded for Russell Westbrook, DeRozan may very well be on the team right now. Based on their former accolades, it’s understandable why the team made the choice that they did. DeRozan has never been an MVP or an icon like Westbrook has. He understands why the Lakers picked him and didn’t take a shot at the team despite the early struggles this season.

“Nah, Russ is a Hall of Fame player,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports. “It’s hard to turn down that caliber of player. I can’t speak for the Lakers, but they went with what they felt was best for them. And all due respect to them. No hard feelings. No animosity, but I just look at it as part of the game. A deal is never done until it’s done. I learned that. It just didn’t work out. I’m just happy I’m in Chicago.”

Did Lakers Pick the Right Player?

Based on the early results of this season, there’s no questioning that DeRozan has played better than Westbrook. He’s averaging 26.9 points a game on 51.0% shooting while Westbrook is averaging 19.4 points a game on 42.7% shooting. The Bulls have a 10-4 record while the Lakers are 8-7.

That said, Los Angeles has been missing LeBron James for much of the season due to injury while the Bulls are mostly healthy. It’s far too early in the season for the Lakers to know if they made a mistake choosing Westbrook. It can take time for him to adjust to a new team as we saw with the Washington Wizards last season. DeRozan has been great for the Bulls but he’s likely already hit his ceiling with the team. Westbrook has a long way to go until he reaches his full potential with the Lakers.

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