In the summer of 2021, DeMar DeRozan was without a doubt one of the biggest names in NBA free agency. The six-time All-Star was linked to a handful of teams, which also included a homecoming to his native of LA to join the Los Angeles Clippers. In the end, though, DeRozan chose to join the Chicago Bulls on a massive $82 million deal for three years.
As it turns out, though, DeMar actually came really close to joining the Clippers. In a recent episode of Paul George's podcast, Podcast P with Paul George presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, the pair opened up about how and why the deal fell through.
George started it off by revealing his recruitment efforts on DeRozan and how he felt terrible after learning what the Clippers were actually willing to offer DeMar:
“I remember I was trying hard as s**t to recruit you,” George told DeRozan. “… After it was done, I felt like a sucker. In Chicago, I came to you, I was like, ‘Bro, that was some buls**t.' I didn't know what we had to offer. It was just, ‘Yo, we got interest in bringing DeMar here. Hell yeah, let's go get that.' When I actually did the numbers of what we could offer, obviously, you deserve way more than that. I just felt like, ‘Damn, I really tried to get the homie to come here on the low.' It was bulls**t.”
Paul did not disclose what the Clippers' final offer was for DeMar, but what you can say for sure is that it had to be far less than the $82 million he got with the Bulls.
DeRozan then acknowledged that even he got all riled up about potentially linking up with Paul George in LA:
“First time I seen (George) after that, he was like, ‘Man, my bad,” DeRozan said. “And I never even took it in no disrespectful type of way because in that moment I was like, ‘Man, hell yeah. Let's figure it out.' The business side of it just was flawed in its own right. But me just looking at like, ‘Man, damn. I could do this? Play with my dog (at) home? Alright, let's try to figure it out.'”
"The business side of it, just was flawed in it's own right. But me looking at it like 'man, damn, I could do this, play with my dog. Home?'"
DeMar DeRozan on the time when Clippers tried to recruit him.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 18, 2023
Paul George then revealed that even Kawhi Leonard was on board and that he too wanted to recruit DeRozan to LA. Had that gone through, the Clippers would have had some Big 3, for sure. It just wasn't to be, though.
Then again, with DeRozan's current contract with the Bulls coming to an end next season, who knows? Perhaps a move to his hometown of LA might still be in the books somewhere down the road.