The Los Angeles Lakers have been urged to trade for a five-time All-Star and $257 million future Hall of Famer.
In a December 15 article called “Fresh Trade Target List for Every NBA Team,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley named Chicago Bulls small forward DeMar DeRozan as one of the players the Lakers should try to trade for. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report reported on December 10 that Los Angeles is interested in acquiring DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic from Chicago.
“It hasn’t always been clear how big the Lakers could (or should) buy this trade season, but Anthony Davis’ return to the superstar ranks has changed everything,” Buckley wrote. “If he’s back to being a top-five player—and estimated plus-minus and FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR slot him second overall—then L.A. can aggressively attack the trade market in pursuit of the longest postseason run possible. The Lakers might already be doing that, by the way. B/R’s Eric Pincus reported they have interest in DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević should Chicago decide it’s time to start over. DeRozan, in particular, intrigues as another high-level shot-creator and late-game option.”
DeRozan is averaging 26.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists this season while shooting 50.5% from the field, 29.7% from beyond the arc and 89.5% from the free-throw line. The California native took part in meetings at LeBron James’ house during the summer of 2021 and thought he would sign with the Lakers, the team he grew up rooting for.
However, Los Angeles traded for Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards instead, ending DeRozan’s chances of coming home. The All-NBA swingman signed a three-year, $85 million contract with the Bulls as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the San Antonio Spurs. DeRozan, 33, is making $27.3 million this season and will have accumulated more than $257 million in his career when his contract ends following the 2023-24 season.
How Can the Lakers Get DeRozan?
Morten Stig Jensen of Forbes proposed on December 13 that the Lakers trade three players and their draft picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Bulls for DeRozan. Jensen’s speculative trade had the Lakers sending Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, Kendrick Nunn and two draft picks to the Bulls for DeRozan, Tony Bradley and Marko Simonovic.
“The Lakers have been heavily rumored as a DeRozan destination,” Jensen wrote. “If Anthony Davis stays healthy, and continues his MVP caliber play, the Lakers could be motivated enough by the glare of another championship that forking over both the 2027 and 2029 first-rounders, fully unprotected, wouldn’t be an entirely unrealistic scenario. In theory, the Lakers could pull off a DeRozan trade without relinquishing Russell Westbrook if they wanted to. Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker, and Kendrick Nunn would instead go to Chicago, who’d send Tony Bradley and Marko Simonovic along.”
The Lakers could start Dennis Schroder, Austin Reaves, DeRozan, James and Anthony Davis if DeRozan landed in Los Angeles. That’s a versatile starting lineup with shooting, playmaking, scoring and defense.
Bulls Could Be Open for Business Soon
Teams are “watching Chicago very closely” as the Bulls continue to struggle this season, according to Pincus. Chicago is only 11-16 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings after winning 46 games in 2021-22.
“Everyone is watching Chicago very closely,” one NBA source told Pincus. “They’re so poorly constructed, they need to blow it up.”
According to a December 9 report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bulls aren’t interested in acquiring Westbrook despite the one-time MVP being on an expiring contract. Westbrook has been on the trade block since last season, but his improved play off the bench has made it “increasingly unlikely” that he will be dealt by the Lakers, according to a December 15 report from Sam Amick of The Athletic.