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DeMar DeRozan thought it was ‘done deal’ that he was joining the Lakers in offseason

DeMar DeRozan really really wanted to join the Lakers in free agency this summer, a stunning revelation that he’s never mentioned before.

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Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

In a truly stunning tell-all interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, DeMar DeRozan revealed for the first time that he really wanted to be a Laker.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

DeRozan has never been one to shy away from expressing his desire to be a Laker (more on that in a bit) and on Monday after leading the Bulls to a win over the Lakers, he did speak with Haynes about how close he was to coming home to Los Angeles this summer. And it was really close!

Haynes piece mentions that DeRozan and LeBron James spoke multiple times this offseason — and he was not the only person Haynes has reported that LeGM tried to recruit this summer — and DeRozan’s agent Aaron Goodwin had worked to manufacture a sign-and-trade that would have sent him to Los Angeles. Based on reports from Marc Stein at the time, the deal would have likely centered on Kyle Kuzma and DeRozan.

But the Lakers pivoted to a different Los Angeles native in Russell Westbrook, opting to bring him home instead. DeRozan says that blocked his path back to Los Angeles (via Yahoo Sports):

“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and that we were going to figure it out. I was going to come home. The business side of things just didn’t work out. A couple of things didn’t align. It didn’t work out. It’s just part of the business, part of the game. My next option was definitely Chicago. So, looking back at it, it worked out well.

Hilariously, Haynes also mentions that the Lakers and Spurs were working on a sign and trade for DeRozan before free agency, aka the same thing that the Bulls are about to get punished by the NBA for doing with Lonzo Ball and the Pelicans. Haynes specifically noting Goodwin as the one working “feverishly” might be enough to protect the teams, but it’s still an incredible nugget.

DeRozan’s time in Chicago is going much more swimmingly early on than Westbrook’s in Los Angeles, with the former averaging 26.9 points per game after back-to-back 30-point games in his returns to Los Angeles to play the Clippers and Lakers this week.

But DeRozan has made no secret of his desire to play in Los Angeles and for the Lakers. Not just this summer, but for years and years. At seemingly any opportunity, he’ll mention wanting to play for the Lakers.

In fact, here’s a list of DeRozan’s links to the Lakers, sorted chronologically:

As you can see, it’s often a one-way street, with DeRozan (and his camp) seemingly telling any media outlet willing to ask about how much he wants to join the Lakers. That isn’t to suggest the interest hasn’t been there from the Lakers side, as it clearly was this offseason, for example.

But DeRozan also really, really wants everyone to know that he really would like to come to Los Angeles to play basketball. Considering DeRozan’s deal with Chicago was for three years and worth $81 million, it’s next to impossible to imagine the Lakers acquiring that contract before its end.

At that point, in 2024, DeRozan will be 35. But while we won’t know for sure how his game will have aged at that point, there is one thing we can safely predict with near certainty: That summer, and maybe in the lead-up to it, DeRozan will be talking about coming home to the Lakers.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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