Earlier this week we wrote about a report stating that San Antonio Spurs unrestricted free agent DeMar DeRozan has an interest in joining the Los Angeles Lakers, even if it means he would have to take a paycut to join the Lakers.
Now, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required), the interest between the Lakers and DeRozan may be mutual. Charania reported the Lakers are looking for another playmaking player to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and he wrote the Lakers are expected to show interest in DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Here’s a quick summary of DeRozan and the Lakers’ three options if they wanted to find a deal together in free agency.
- DeRozan would have to take a significant pay cut if he agreed to sign for the non-taxpayer mid-level exception of $9.5 million.
- The Lakers and DeRozan could see if the Spurs would want to work on a sign-and-trade deal together. This would mean the Spurs would sign DeRozan in free agency, then immediately trade him to the Lakers for a player(s). The question though is who would the Lakers be willing to send to the Spurs and who would the Spurs agree to take in such a deal. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Sunday on a TV broadcast that multiple teams have been contacted around trade packages for Kyle Kuzma and/or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Would the Lakers be willing to send Kuzma and whoever the Lakers draft with the 22nd pick in a sign-and-trade for DeRozan? Keep in mind any sign-and-trade deal would hard cap the Lakers for all of next season, making other moves more difficult since they could never cross that hard cap line.
- For the Lakers to open cap space, they’d have to trade multiple players without taking back salary. This would be very difficult to do.
Going back to option 2 from the Spurs’ point of view, let’s look at a hypothetical in the event the Lakers agreed to send Kuzma and whoever is drafted 22nd in a sign-and-trade for DeRozan. This would leave the Spurs with $35.5 million in cap space for free agency.