DeMar DeRozan will certainly be one of the most coveted free agents this offseason, and the Los Angeles Lakers will be one of the many teams interested in signing him. DeRozan is coming off a career year where he averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 assists and 4 rebounds per 36 minutes. Now, the Lakers and numerous other teams with loads of cap space, will work to lure him away from the Toronto Raptors.
On DeMar DeRozan, the Lakers, the Raptors, and home. https://t.co/IKLOhcgbkM— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) May 29, 2016
DeRozan was able to demonstrate his worth this season in more ways than ever, a development that will surely help land him at least one max contract offer this summer. He averaged a career-high in assist percentage, displaying the ability to create more than ever before in his NBA career. He was more efficient that ever before, as well, as demonstrated by his 55 percent true shooting percentage. Another key development was his constant and consistent effort to not settle in the midrange game, something that has plagued his career up until this point. Only 24.7 percent of his shots came from long-range two, a mark that was at 33.8 percent the year before per Basketball-Reference. Meanwhile, 22.6 percent of his shots came within three feet of the basket this season, which helped boost his free throw rate to 47.4 percent.
That type of production has led teams like Los Angeles to become highly interested in his services. According to SportsNet, Los Angeles is prepared to offer DeRozan “the moon.” DeRozan would rejuvenate a Lakers squad that is coming off a disappointing season coupled with the loss of Kobe Bryant to retirement. Jordan Clarkson will also become a free agent this summer, and it remains unclear if he will re-sign with Los Angeles. The Lakers know that serious roster upgrades are needed after winning only 17 games last season, and DeRozan’s All-Star status could provide that pop.
Furthermore, the Lakers have a hometown tie that could be useful in contract negotiations. DeRozan was born in Compton, California, and he attended the University of Southern California for college. Heading back to the west coast will certainly be a selling point for Los Angeles in contract discussions.
However, loyalty is very important to DeRozan, according to SportsNet. This will most likely complicate his chances of going to Los Angeles or to any other team in the NBA, regardless of the money. DeRozan’s recent comments suggest that he is content with the Raptors and where the franchise is headed.
“My mindset has always been Toronto. I always preached it. I was passionate about it when we were losing. When we were terrible, I said I’m going to stick through this whole thing and I want to be that guy who brings this organization to where it is now. I definitely don’t want to switch up after we win.”
DeRozan has clearly placed an emphasis on bringing a championship to Toronto, and leaving for the Lakers would derail this plan completely. DeRozan’s efforts have been successful thus far, as the Raptors made the Conference Finals for the first time in their franchise’s history this season. A sudden shift to Los Angeles does not make sense in this regard, especially if DeRozan really believes what he is saying.
Ultimately, the Raptors seem like a heavy front-runner in the chase for DeRozan. He wants to continue to build upon the success that Toronto has experienced over the past few seasons under head coach Dwane Casey. Although the Lakers have the cap space and the hometown ties to potentially lure him away from the Raptors, it would be a shocking development if Los Angeles was able to land DeRozan this summer.
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