Toronto Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan has really stepped up his game the past few seasons. During the regular season, he averaged a career high of 23.5 points per game and recently dropped 34 in a Game 5 win the other day against the the Miami Heat.
His recent improvements could not have come at a better time. As many people are aware, the NBA salary cap is projected to go up and DeRozan has one-year left on his contract. However, it is a player option, meaning he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent. His player option is worth close to $10 million. With the NBA free agency period coming closer, of course rumors are starting up about players like DeRozen.
From Stephen A. Smith, transcribed by Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation:
“He’s made it very, very clear that he wants to be in L.A.,” Smith said of DeRozan’s intentions in free agency. “He has family out there. He’s from out there. He wants to be in L.A. He wants to wear the purple and gold, and if there’s a way for it to happen, again he’s restricted, if there’s a way for it to happen, DeMar DeRozan will be in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform next season.”
Again, if DeRozan opts out of the final year of his contract, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, not restricted. Besides that I can see DeMar DeRozan being a good fit in the city of Los Angeles. He was raised in Compton and played college ball of the University of Southern California (USC). He has family in the area, so you know he will be comfortable there.
As far as playing, it is no secret that the Lakers were bad this season. Now that the Kobe Bryant era is over, they need to start rebuilding. They have the cap space and they are a big market city, which will no doubt attract some star power. DeRozan is athletic swingman that he score on any given night, which is something the Lakers need.
The one thing I might question here is that they somewhat have a guard tandem to work with in D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Say DeRozan does sign — what does that mean for Russell and Clarkson? Does one or both go? One comes off the bench? Or maybe do they start all three? While it may be only a rumor, it gets people thinking on what possible scenarios can happen with the future of their respective teams.
DeMar DeRozan might not be the first player that comes into might when it comes to free agency, but he has improved his game and is a two-time All-Star. Sure this thing might not be true, but it does get you excited for what might happen this summer during free agency.