DeMar DeRozan Talks FA Recruitment from LeBron James, Lakers Before Bulls Contract

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVOctober 9, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs react to a call during a 121-113 Laker win at Staples Center on December 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan divulged Friday that he had conversations with LeBron James about joining the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

DeRozan described the recruitment in a conversation with Shams Charania on Inside The Association (h/t Laker Central):

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DeMar DeRozan on almost becoming a Laker before joining the Bulls. <a href="https://t.co/c20nELf6xj">pic.twitter.com/c20nELf6xj</a>

The 32-year-old DeRozan called his discussions with LeBron "great" and called the possibility of playing in L.A. "a hell of an opportunity" given that he is originally from the area.

While DeRozan seemingly wanted to make it happen, he said it "just didn't work" and added that "one thing can just change the whole dynamic" in the NBA.

DeRozan was likely referring to the Lakers' acquisition of 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook in a trade that sent Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Washington Wizards on Aug. 6.

That deal left no room for DeRozan's salary, leading to him getting moved from the San Antonio Spurs to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade just five days later.

DeRozan is a four-time All-Star and has been a dynamic scorer since entering the league as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Toronto Raptors. After nine seasons with the Raptors, he was traded to the Spurs in 2018 as part of the deal that sent Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.

DeRozan has averaged 20 points per game or better in each of the past eight seasons, and his career averages sit at 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 rebounds per game. He also averaged a career-high 6.9 assists per game last season in San Antonio.

However, much like Westbrook, he doesn't offer an outside shooting presence, converting just 0.4 threes per game in his career at 28.1 percent. Now, he will look to lead the Bulls back to prominence, as he joins a talented roster that also includes Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball, Patrick Williams and Coby White.