Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is retiring at the end of the season, and the team is looking at DeMar DeRozan as his successor and franchise player, according to CBS Sports.
When Michael Jordan first retired from the NBA, the Chicago Bulls knew that the void would be much too big to fill, so they didn’t bother. Pete Myers was brought in to start at guard.
For the first time in two decades, the Los Angles Lakers are about to not have Kobe Bryant on the roster. They, too, know that the void would be much too big to fill up again.
That doesn’t mean that Los Angeles Lakers owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak aren’t going to try, though. Both are looking towards free agency to sign a big name.
Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak have both long been impressed with DeMar DeRozan, the star guard for the Toronto Raptors. Buss and Kupchak will target DeRozan in free agency.
At 6’7″, 220 pounds, DeMar DeRozan could easily step into the small forward starting spot that Kobe Bryant will be vacating in a couple of months. DeRozan is really versatile enough.
If Jordan Clarkson ends up not being part of the big plans for the Los Angeles Lakers, then DeMar DeRozan can shift over to the guard position that Kobe Bryant occupied for years.
Even though he is averaging 22.9 points a game for the Toronto Raptors this year, there are still a good amount of people that do not view the Compton native as a true franchise player.
When you compare his numbers to past NBA player, DeMar DeRozan is similar to Larry Hughes, Jeff Hornacek, Richard Hamilton and Jimmy Jackson, good but not franchise players.
Fortunately for DeMar DeRozan, a move to the Los Angeles Lakers might not mean that he has to do things alone. D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle have shown star potential.
The trio of D’Angelo Russell, DeMar DeRozan, and Julius Randle have enough talent and potential to make the Los Angeles Lakers a dominant powerhouse for the next decade or so.
From a marketing standpoint, DeMar DeRozan is nowhere near Kobe Bryant, and he might never be. However, being in California and winning with the Lakers can do wonders for him.
If the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to speed things up and prevent other NBA teams from having a crack at DeMar DeRozan, they can always attempt to trade for him in February.
In terms of matching contracts, the Los Angeles Lakers could send Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young and Larry Nance Jr. Combined, they make close to DeMar DeRozan’s $10 million deal.
Nick Young is basically a throw in so that the contracts can match. The Toronto Raptors don’t really have a need for him, unless he can finally learn how to control himself on the court.
Impending free agent Jordan Clarkson was once talked about as a building block for the Los Angeles Lakers, but those talks have died down tremendously over the last couple of weeks.
Not a lot was expected of Larry Nance Jr when he was drafted last year, but the second generation NBA star has already earned himself a spot in the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup.
The Toronto Raptors would lose out on a really great player by trading DeMar DeRozan, but getting two valuable prospects back in Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr helps them out.
There’s unlikely to be anyone that can replace Kobe Bryant in the hearts of Los Angeles Lakers fans around the world, but DeMar DeRozan could replace Bryant in the starting lineup.
[Featured Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]