Lakers News: LeBron James Strongly Considered Teaming Up With DeMar DeRozan Before Russell Westbrook Trade

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JB Baruelo

After suffering a first-round exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers became more aggressive in improving their supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer. Earlier in the 2021 NBA offseason, the Lakers successfully added a third star when they acquired All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards.

However, before Westbrook became available on the trading block, recent reports revealed that James and the Lakers were closely monitoring other NBA superstars who were available on the free agency and trade markets.

James Tried To Recruit DeRozan

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One of the players who were on the Lakers' radar this summer was veteran small forward DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls. According to Nick Metallinos of Sporting News, DeRozan and James met "twice" during offseason and discussed the possibility of forming a "Big Three" with Anthony Davis in the 2021-22 NBA season

"James even set up a room in his Los Angeles home to host potential new teammates – a screening process of sorts," Metallinos wrote. "DeRozan met with James twice. They spoke on the phone, they discussed how a trio of James, DeRozan and Davis might work."

A 'Real Possibility'

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From the time he entered the league in 2009, DeRozan, a Compton, California native, has been dreaming of representing his hometown team in the NBA. In an interview with Bleacher Report, via Youtube, DeRozan revealed that he indeed made efforts to make his dream come true this summer.

The veteran small forward said that teaming up James and Davis in Los Angeles was a "real possibility. Unfortunately, things didn't work out the way he wanted which made him decide to consider other options in the 2021 NBA free agency.

Why DeRozan Didn't Happen?

Though James and DeRozan seemed to have a mutual desire of forming a partnership in Los Angeles, a deal still failed to materialize this summer. As Metallinos noted, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka strongly considered a sign-and-trade scenario that would send DeRozan to Los Angeles.

However, the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs couldn't find a suitable trade. After failing to secure a deal with the Purple and Gold, the Spurs ended up sending DeRozan to the Bulls in exchange for Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a protected future first-round pick, and two future second-round picks.

Enjoying The Bulls

Though his dream to play for a Los Angeles team didn't happen, DeRozan is currently happy with the Bulls. The Bulls may not have entered the 2021-22 NBA season as one of the heavy favorites to capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but they are currently establishing an impressive performance on both ends of the floor. So far, they are sitting in the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 9-4 record.

Also, DeRozan looks very comfortable with the Bulls. This season, the 32-year-old small forward is posting incredible numbers, averaging 26.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.