If Toronto Raptors All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan opts out of his contract, it is widely speculated that the Los Angeles Lakers will offer him a max contract. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, “a bunch of teams, including DeRozan’s hometown Lakers, are prepared to offer him a max deal starting at $25 million per season.”
DeRozan has the option to stay with Toronto for another year, his contract would be worth just $10 million for next season. But comparatively a max offer would be worth at least $100 million over four seasons.
The Lakers will have a projected $65 million in cap space and will be aggressively targeting big-name players to replace the MASSIVE void Kobe Bryant will leave after he retires at the end of the season.
DeRozan is just one of the big-name free agents – NBA Free Agency 2016: The top players – that may be on the move this upcoming offseason. But would DeRozan signing a max contract with the purple and gold beneficial for the Lakers?
The Lakers have been building through the draft, why change now?
The Lakers are in the infancy stages of the rebuilding process, something they haven’t seen in quite sometime. With a young and talented core including Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, they need the time – and the right coach that is looking to develop young players, yes I’m calling out Byron Scott here – to show what they are capable of.
As of today, the Lakers have a record of 9-31, last place in the Western Conference and second worst in the league, and are already looking forward to the NBA Draft and free agency. The Lakers have a top-three protected pick to the Philadelphia 76ers (via Steve Nash trade), but may lose that pick.
The Lakers are far away from contention – hopefully Jim Buss lives up to his promise that he’d step down from the basketball personnel side of things if the Lakers weren’t contending for Conference and NBA championships in “three or four years” – and there will likely be other teams with more promising situations that will come knocking in free agency.
The Compton raised shooting guard may have dreams of taking the reins from Kobe Bryant and becoming the main attraction in his hometown, but along with saying that he wants to play for Raptors his entire career, it is more than just dollars and cents for DeRozan. It’s a matter of risk vs. reward.
Does he want to leave a well oiled machine in Toronto both on the court – paired with All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry – and the team’s front office – In 2013, Masai Ujiri was named the NBA Executive of the Year – a high-risk, high-reward experiment in L.A.?
Let’s see if Lakers’ General Manager Mitch Kupchak can pull another rabbit out of his hat.