LeBron James was courting DeMar DeRozan, who’s a free agent this summer, before the Lakers successfully traded for Russell Westbrook.
Chris Haynes, a senior Yahoo Sports NBA reporter and TNT sideline analyst, confirmed this story in a news break today. The Portland-based reporter has connections all around the league. He’s usually spot-on with leaks on information of this sensitive nature.
The LA Lakers were knocked out in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. This came in the wake of LeBron James’ high ankle sprain and AD’s groin injury, which limited them both.
Anthony Davis barely played a part in the final 10 quarters of their series against the Suns. Left with no reliable shooters alongside and no secondary scorer, LeBron James bore the brunt of some excellent play by the Suns.
Devin Booker led Phoenix past the Lakers with 3 emphatic victories to close the series out. It was quite clear even then that the Lakers were about to effect a major shake-up of their roster.
The changes came about on draft night yesterday as the Lakers have seemingly closed a deal to acquire Russell Westbrook. Russ has 2 years to go on his supermax contract and is owed over $44 million each year.
LeBron James was in talks with DeMar DeRozan before Russell Westbrook trade materialized
Chris Haynes wrote the following in his report regarding the Lakers’ offseason plans over the past month. He noted how James was significantly active in recruiting both LA natives in Westbrook and DeRozan:
San Antonio Spurs unrestricted free agent DeMar DeRozan was in talks with James, sources said, but the Westbrook deal eliminated that option because it would have required a sign-and-trade scenario and a Kuzma inclusion. The Lakers are not done making moves.
It remains to be seen how well the Lakers gel with each other in the upcoming season. They clearly need to fill the rest of their roster out with capable shooters to make their spacing work.
As things currently stand, they’ll be dependent on 3 players who’ve all operated within 16 feet of the bucket for long periods of their careers. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook will also have to play elite off-ball offense in addition to their ball-handling duties.
Also Read – ‘Los Angeles Lakers cannot play the whole season without injuries’: NBA Fans reacts to the Lakers potential lineup for the 2021-2022 season after Russell Westbrook joins forces with LeBron James and co.