DeMar DeRozan is coming off of the best season of his NBA career. After spending his first 12 years in the Association as a member of the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs, DeRozan joined the Chicago Bulls prior to the 2021-22 campaign and earned All-NBA Second Team honors for the second time. DeRozan’s 27.9 points per game were the most in his career, and he legitimately had his name in the MVP conversation for a lengthy spell as the Bulls spent a whole lot of time among the Eastern Conference’s elite.
DeRozan appeared on JJ Redick’s podcast, “The Old Man and the Three,” and told the story of how that almost did not come to be. He’s mentioned in the past that nearly went home to join the Los Angeles Lakers and how the team’s acquisition of Russell Westbrook prevented that, and on Reddick’s pod, DeRozan went into just how close he came to suiting up alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
"I was hell bent on playing for the Lakers"
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) September 29, 2022
“To my knowledge, I thought it was a done deal,” DeRozan said. “I remember I took a trip to Mexico just to get away because I could just feel the anticipation of everything coming to play. So I was like, I’m gonna get away for a couple days, take my mind off it. And by the time I come home, it’s free agency — hey, signing with the Lakers.
“I’m sleep one morning in Mexico, I get a call from Kyle Lowry, and he said, ‘They just made the trade for Russ, what’s going on? I thought the deal was done for you to go to the Lakers?’” DeRozan continued. “And I was like, I’m confused, I’m looking at my phone like, damn, that did happen. Well, I guess that’s out the window.”
DeRozan went on to say he believed that he thought the Lakers were his only option, to the point that he “didn’t even entertain anything else.” But despite that, the Westbrook trade made him change how he approached things.
“All my other options I would’ve entertained, I pushed it to the side because I was hell bent on playing for the Lakers,” he said.
The Los Angeles native did get to play with James this summer, though, as the two suited up alongside one another at the Drew League.