DeMar DeRozan, the soon-to-be free agent guard, wants to return to his home state of California and don the legendary Purple & Gold next season, according to renowned ESPN analyst Stephen A Smith.
DeRozan has been linked with the Los Angeles Lakers for several years. “He’s made it very, very clear that he wants to be in L.A.,” Smith said during Tuesday’s broadcast of ESPN First Take, while speaking about DeRozan’s impending free agency this summer.
Smith said that DeRozan’s reason to sign with Lakers would have a lot to do with his family. “He has family out there. He’s from out there. He wants to be in L.A. He wants to wear the purple and gold, and if there’s a way for it to happen, again he’s restricted, if there’s a way for it to happen, DeMar DeRozan will be in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform next season.”
DeMar DeRozan struggling in playoffs…
DeRozan, a native of Compton, and the Raptors are currently embroiled in difficult Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Miami Heat. The 26-year-old finished the regular season as a top-10 scorer in the league, averaging a 23.5 points, 4 assists and 4.5 rebounds. DeRozan’s season-high numbers helped Toronto secure a franchise-first No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the ongoing playoffs, DeRozan is averaging 17.9 points while shooting a mediocre 32 per cent. Last week, there were several reports that the former USC product has lost some of his free agency value due to the poor postseason output. Regardless, adding DeRozan would be an instant upgrade for the Lakers, who are suffering from a severe dearth of superstar talent.
Earlier this year, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that the Lakers are prepared to offer DeRozan up to $25 million per season. “A bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting $25 million per season, and the Raptors know they will have to spend big to keep him,” wrote Lowe.
Will DeMar DeRozan help the Lakers return to the playoffs?