DeMar DeRozan is on the Lakers’ list of trade targets, but would Greg Popovich sign off on this trade?
The Lakers have been the NBA Champions for a month. The NBA decided to start their new season on December 22nd. The Draft is on 18th November. Free agency begins on 20th November. Amidst all this, we get to hear that the Lakers have been showing interest in DeMar DeRozan.
The Lakers, just like all the teams in the league are looking to strengthen their team. The Lakers have a lot of uncertainty around their roster, with 11 free agents, but their core is set. They plan to build around their core and win another championship. Adding DeMar would give them the strong 3rd scoring option they were lacking in the playoffs.
Moreover, in order to compete at the highest level against an injury free Nets and Warriors would be a challenge in itself. Hence, rumors suggest that Lakers are indeed looking to have a ‘big 3’ in LA, rather than just banking on LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Greg Popovich may not let the DeMar DeRozan trade happen
Although there has never been a clear statement, it is believed that Greg Popovich does not like the Lakers getting better. Back in 2018, when Kawhi Leonard refused to play for the Spurs and was demanding a trade, the Spurs out right rejected any offers the Lakers put forward.
There was no official word on the ‘No Lakers’ stance, but they tried to justify it by saying that none of the Lakers packages were appealing enough.
“The Lakers were left with an unmistakable impression: Buford and Gregg Popovich would never send Leonard to Los Angeles — no matter what the Lakers offered. The Spurs always denied any absolute “no Lakers” stance, arguing the Lakers’ package never captivated them.” Woj had reported this.
Another such case is when the Lakers were about to acquire Anthony Davis. Stephen A. believes that Pop was in Dell Demps’ ear all along the way, advising him against the idea of sending AD to the Lakers.
“Not for trade talks, but Gregg Popovich has said – ‘Don’t cave to the Los Angeles Lakers.’ In other words, like (the Spurs) did for Kawhi Leonard.” is what Stephen A. reported.
— LAKERS GOAT (@BOSTONcanSMD) January 29, 2019
Greg Popovich has also been known to be very vocal when Pau Gasol got traded to the Lakers back in 2008. That one trade ended with the Lakers winning 2 rings, and Pop could see it coming,
“What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension,” said Popovich. “There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.” he added.
From the above instances it feels like LeBron James will need to turn elsewhere in order to get his 3rd star. While Chris Paul seems an option, DeRozan would have been a cheaper one. However, Pop would be in no mood to listen to ‘The King’ and Lakers’ pleas.
What does DeMar DeRozan’s future look like?
DeMar has a player option this season, where he can choose to play out a last season with the Spurs for $27.7 million, and become an unrestricted free agent next season. While there is no official word by the Spurs about trading him, they surely must be thinking about the ‘DeRozan conundrum’
They can offer him an extension and keep him in San Antonio for longer, or try and get a trade which can benefit them. Either way, it would be interesting to see what happens there when the trade barriers are lifted.