According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan has interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason, even if it’s for less than his next contract projection.
Turner also writes that DeRozan’s former teammate in Toronto, Kyle Lowry, also has interest in the Lakers.
How much can the Lakers offer DeRozan?
DeRozan is projected to get a new contract in the range of $25.9 million to $34.9 million per ProFitX.
Since the Lakers are an over the cap team this offseason, the most they can offer is the non-tax payer mid-level exception of $9.5 million.
The Lakers can open up to $18.2 million in cap space, but that would require them to trade Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell (assuming he exercises his player option) without taking back salary.
Since DeRozan will be an unrestricted free agent, he and the Lakers could see if the Spurs would be willing to work on a sign-and-trade agreement together.
This would mean the Spurs would sign DeRozan, then trade him to the Lakers for a player(s). The tough part about using a sign-and-trade would mean the Lakers would be hard capped for the remainder of the season, and the Spurs would have to agree to take back whichever player(s) the Lakers would be sending.
Here’s an example of what a sign-and-trade could look like. Let’s say the Spurs sign DeRozan to a deal for $25.9 million in the first year, then trade him to the Lakers. If the Lakers traded Kyle Kuzma back to the Spurs, then the Lakers would be $2.6 million from crossing the hard cap for the remainder of the season.
In this scenario, the Lakers would only be able to fill out their roster with minimum players, unless they made more trades to open room under the hard cap.
For the Spurs, if they added Kuzma in that sign-and-trade deal, they’d be left with $36.9 million in cap space if they still wanted to send a max offer sheet to John Collins or look at other free agents.
Those are basically the Lakers and DeRozan’s three main options if they want to work together next season: 1) DeRozan takes a massive pay cut. 2) The Lakers and DeRozan see if they can get the Spurs involved in a sign-and-trade deal. 3) The Lakers go the most difficult route of making multiple trades to open cap space.
If the Lakers wanted to add DeRozan and Lowry, then both Lowry and DeRozan would both have to be willing to take pay cuts unless the Lakers could work on multiple sign-and-trade agreements with the Spurs for DeRozan, and the Raptors for Lowry.
ProFitX is a dynamic financial and performance index powered by Artificial Intelligence with front-office optics displaying 17 visual and time-series models for 480-plus NBA athletes. The Athledex models historical, dynamic, and future performance data to monitor and project insights on contracts, performance, injuries, team fit, development, and potential. Follow them on Twitter at @ProFitXAI and on Instagram.