Before the team's reported trade for Russell Westbrook, LeBron James was apparently looking at another former All-Star guard to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, James was "in talks" with unrestricted free agent DeMar DeRozan about potentially joining the team.
The Lakers instead made a trade for Westbrook, reportedly sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a first-round pick to the Washington Wizards to complete the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Per Haynes, this removes the possibility of a DeRozan deal for the Lakers since it would have required a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs, with Kuzma part of the return.
DeRozan—just like Westbrook—is from California and played college basketball in Los Angeles. The USC product had been considering a homecoming this offseason, as he recently explained to Shannon Sharpe on Club Shay Shay:
Club Shay Shay @ClubShayShay
.<a href="https://twitter.com/DeMar_DeRozan?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DeMar_DeRozan</a> on playing for the Lakers:<br><br>“You’d love to have the opportunity to play at home, especially if they want you, why not? I think it would work [between me, LeBron & AD]. We’re smart basketball players and it’s all about coming together.” <a href="https://t.co/FD8VIX4Jha">pic.twitter.com/FD8VIX4Jha</a>
DeRozan will instead have to look for a new home this offseason with the Lakers likely unable to fit him in under the salary cap.
The four-time All-Star averaged 21.6 points per game last season with the San Antonio Spurs while setting a career high with 6.9 assists per game. He has remained a consistent scorer throughout his time with the Spurs and Toronto Raptors and continues to improve his all-around game.
Though not much of a three-point shooter, he remained efficient with the mid-range game and made 49.5 percent of his overall shots in 2020-21.
His time with San Antonio might be over with the squad looking to get younger, but there should be plenty of demand for the 31-year-old this offseason.