The Los Angeles Lakers got an early start to the offseason, and some are expecting the team to make a few splashy moves to ensure it does not happen again. During a June 7th episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Ryen Russillo and Simmons discussed potential moves the Lakers could make this offseason.
“Hey, there’s no way there isn’t going to be some weird Lakers acquisition that pisses off the world, alright,” Russillo noted.
Simmons believes the Lakers are a team to watch for both Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan in free agency. The Lakers were heavily linked to Lowry at the trade deadline but opted to hang on to Talen Horton-Tucker which appeared to kill the deal.
“The DeRozan stuff has started both on the internets and in the NBA whisper circles,” Simmons responded. “There’s DeRozan buzz now, and I don’t think they [Lakers] can be counted out with a Lowry sign-and-trade. I mean, you can talk to 10 people and hear Lowry’s going to 10 teams. Lowry is just on every team, he’s 90% there, name a team, he’s heading there. There’s a world in which maybe they have DeRozan and Lowry next year.”
The Lakers Need to Work a Sign-and-Trade Just to Land Another Star
The Lakers will find it challenging just to land one of these stars and would need a salary cap miracle to snag both players this offseason. Los Angeles’ salary cap is accounted for with just four players: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma. Simmons later labeled the Knicks as the favorite to sign Lowry.
Not only do the Lakers not have any room under the cap, but the team could have as many as 10 free agents on their roster. This makes pulling off a sign-and-trade for either Lowry or DeRozan more challenging with so few tradeable assets.
The team nearly landed Lowry at the trade deadline, but Dennis Schroder was the main player the Raptors were receiving in the deal. Schroder is an unrestricted free agent giving him ultimate control of his future. If Schroder’s asking price is too high, the Lakers could try to pull off a sign-and-trade to his preferred destination which would allow them to get something in return. ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggested a potential Lakers sign-and-trade for DeRozan but described the move as “highly unlikely.”
“For example, the Lakers could trade Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope, an unprotected first-round pick in 2027 and the right to swap firsts to San Antonio for a signed-and-traded DeMar DeRozan,” Marks detailed. “Although such a trade works on paper, it is highly unlikely the Lakers could make that move and remain below the $142 million threshold while still retaining Schroder, Caruso, Horton-Tucker and perhaps Drummond.”
DeRozan Grew Up in Los Angeles & Previously Admitted to Being Flattered by the Lakers Rumors
The Southern California native grew up a Lakers fan and this is not the first time the four-time All-Star has been linked to the purple and gold. During a November interview on the All the Smoke podcast, DeRozan admitted to being flattered to be mentioned in Lakers trade rumors.
“For me it’s just I’ve learned being in the league so long that you always want to be wanted,” DeRozan said, via NBC Sports. “So when you see things about teams wanting you, you can’t feel a certain type of way. You’d better feel good about it because there’s some m*********** that’s not wanted. You don’t want to be that person. So to be wanted by a championship team that just came off a championship, to see that, how could you not feel some type of way? Especially me, being from LA, it’s like, ‘Damn, my hometown team want me? They just came off a championship and they want me?’ It’s definitely crazy to be able to see that.”