Lakers ‘Dream’ Offseason Free Agent Target a 3-Time All-NBA Selection

DeMar DeRozan, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty DeMar DeRozan playing against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers will have to get creative in free agency. They have the assets to make a trade, but other moves could happen to better the roster, too. In a “pipe dream” scenario, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report named DeMar DeRozan the Lakers “dream” offseason target.

“This is quite a pipe dream, especially since DeMar DeRozan could make eight times as much money by returning to the Chicago Bulls next season,” Swartz wrote on May 30. “Still, DeRozan himself hasn’t ruled out signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, who were his favorite team while he grew up in Compton, California.

“For a player who’s made over a quarter-billion dollars in his NBA career (not counting endorsements), taking the Lakers’ $5.2 million taxpayer MLE and joining LeBron James (a potential free agent himself), Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and others on a Lakers team packed with talent may be appealing for DeRozan.”

DeMar DeRozan Spoke About Considering Playing for the Los Angeles Lakers

DeRozan taking the taxpayer MLE seems unlikely in most scenarios. However, he could want to take the opportunity to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He’s also from Compton, California, which would allow him to return close to home.

Appearing on “Rut It Back on FanDuel TV,” DeRozan spoke about if he’d ever consider playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

“You can’t never say no about playing home…Time will tell, we’ll see where the cards fall.”

The Lakers will have to hope that playing in Los Angeles will be enough of a reason for DeRozan to take a massive pay cut. He’s made $257.6 million over his 15-year NBA career, so he may chase a ring as he’s never won a championship.

When the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the Play-In Tournament, DeRozan said he hated losing, according to Jamal Collier of ESPN.

“I hate losing. I hate missing opportunities,” DeRozan said. “It really hits after the season.”

If DeRozan took the MLE and the Lakers used their assets to find a third star, they’d be in as good of a position to win as many teams around the league.

How DeRozan Would Help the Lakers

DeRozan would give the Los Angeles Lakers another valuable scorer, something that can’t ever go unnoticed. While the three-time All-NBA selection is more of a mid-range shooter and has struggled from three-point range throughout his career, he can still score with the best of them.

In the 2023-24 season, he averaged 24.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He also shot 48.0% from the field, posting another efficient season.

When the Lakers need someone to score outside of James and Davis, DeRozan has proven he can be that guy. In the scenario of him taking the taxpayer MLE, there wouldn’t be much risk associated with the deal for the Lakers. Even if DeRozan doesn’t fit as well as they would hope next to James and Davis, he’d likely be a much better player than anyone they could get on that contract.

DeRozan’s one of the top free agents on the market, so it’ll be interesting to see what he ends up doing as he enters the later stages of his career.

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