According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (via Hoopshype), the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Bulls, and Spurs are five teams with interest in DeRozan.
We’ve already written about the Spurs’ options in either signing DeRozan to an extension before August 1 or re-signing DeRozan after August 2 since San Antonio has his full bird rights and can create up to $49 million in cap space.
We’ve also written about the difficult path for the Lakers to reach a deal with DeRozan.
Now though, let’s explore the options for DeRozan and the Clippers, Knicks, and Bulls, in the event he decided to sign with one of those teams.
Before looking at what type of deal those teams can offer, let’s revisit DeRozan’s contract projection. Per ProFitX, DeRozan is projected to get a contract in the range of $25.9 million to $34.9 million in the first year of a new deal.
How much can the New York Knicks offer?
By keeping Julius Randle on the roster, the Knicks can still have up to $53.5 million in cap space if they let all other free agents walk. This would be more than enough to offer DeRozan a deal anywhere in his contract projection range.
How much can the Chicago Bulls offer?
If the Bulls let all free agents walk and waived Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, the most cap space they’d be able to create would be $23.7 million. For Chicago to even get to the low contract projection for DeRozan, they’d still have to trade a player without taking back salary.
How much can the L.A. Clippers offer?
Like the Lakers, the Clippers would have a very difficult path to add DeRozan. The Clippers are awaiting player option decisions by Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka. If Leonard declines his option but then re-signs for the maximum amount, he would add $3 million more to the Clippers’ cap sheet for next season.
These situations would leave the Clippers with only the $5.9 million taxpayer exception to offer DeRozan. Even in a situation where Leonard and Ibaka declined their options and signed elsewhere, the Clippers would still only have the $9.5 million non-taxpayer exception to offer DeRozan.
Even a sign-and-trade deal would be difficult for the Clippers. Let’s assume Ibaka exercises his player option and Leonard re-signs for the max. This would leave the Clippers $10.6 million over the hard cap. A sign-and-trade type of deal would likely mean the Spurs would have to agree to take multiple role players from the Clippers and the L.A. would be hard-capped for the remainder of the season.
In summary, the teams with the clearest path to sign DeRozan are the Spurs, Knicks, and Bulls. For the Lakers and Clippers, signing DeRozan would be very difficult unless he took a significant pay cut. This will be interesting to watch next week when free agency begins and teams can officially start negotiating with free agents.
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.