All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan is enjoying a career-best season with the Chicago Bulls and has vaulted into the NBA MVP conversation.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers were just eliminated from playoff contention and could very well end up losing 50 games.
In an alternate reality, DeRozan would be playing for his hometown Lakers — potentially leading the team to the playoffs.
However, that never came to fruition. Los Angeles was not able to work out a sign-and-trade with DeRozan’s former San Antonio Spurs team. Instead, it moved to acquiring Russell Westbrook in a trade with the Washington Wizards. That didn’t work out.
We’re now hearing more on DeRozan’s free-agent tour last summer and his visit with the Lakers in Southern California. To say that it doesn’t paint the Lakers in the best of lights would be an understatement.
“I talked to someone from DeRozan’s camp. When DeRozan was in town in L.A., and he basically stuck it to the Lakers. The impression that I got from his camp was that DeRozan felt that the Lakers were in sort of disarray. They didn’t really have a vision. They didn’t know what they were doing.”ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk on DeMar DeRozan, via The Hoop Collective
Earlier this season, reports sufaced from Los Angeles that star LeBron James and the Lakers’ organization were at odds over the direction of the team.
That came after King James pushed for the Lakers to acquire Westbrook in the now ill-fated trade with Washington. However, it now seems like the issues within Los Angeles’ organization extend back even further.
Remember, Los Angeles was swept out of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs by the Phoenix Suns after having to get through the play-in tournament. That came mere months after the organization earned the NBA title in the Orlando bubble.
DeMar DeRozan made the right decision
Despite Chicago’s injury issues, it clinched a top-six spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs earlier this week. It’s the Bulls’ first playoff appearance since the 2016-17 season.
For his part, DeRozan has been absolutely brilliant with his first regular season as a member of the Bulls coming to a close.
- DeMar DeRozan stats (2021-22): 28.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 5.0 APG, 51% shooting, 35% three-point
The five-time NBA All-Star has worked well with fellow star wing Zach LaVine to form one of the better tandems in the NBA.
Despite being a native of Compton in Southern California and seemingly believing he was returning home last summer, DeRozan made the right career decision by signing a three-year, $81.9 Million contract with Chicago.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in disarray
Sitting at 31-48 on the season, Los Angeles is finishing up its worst season since the 2016-17 season. Head coach Frank Vogel will be fired here soon. Russell Westbrook will be traded if the Lakers can even find a partner to take on his absurd contract. There’s rumors of the team being interested in trading injury-plagued big man Anthony davis.
If all of that weren’t enough, LeBron James will become a free agent following the 2022-23 season. There’s no telling whether he’s going to sign an extension this coming summer — leading to speculation of a departure from Southern California.
Without draft capital and cap room to work with moving forward, general manager Rob Pelinka has his work cut out for him. The details of DeMar DeRozan’s take on the Lakers only adds another layer to this.