DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors are locked in a title battle for a chance to appear in the Eastern Conference Finals. With a win tonight, Toronto advances to play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round, where no one is giving them a chance to win the series.
According to Stephen A. Smith, DeRozan does not want to continue his career with the Raptors, and instead wants to come play in his hometown of Los Angeles with the Lakers. This after earlier reports stated that he wanted to play his whole career in Toronto. Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation transcribed the quote by Smith:
“He’s made it very, very clear that he wants to be in L.A.,” Smith said of DeRozan’s intentions in free agency. “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.”
Smith did have a minor error in his statement, because DeRozan can opt out of his current contract to become an unrestricted free agent with the ability to go anywhere he wants to this summer. Despite his playoff struggles, the Lakers are reportedly open to signing him to a max deal. Many would argue that he really isn’t a max-contract player, especially with the upcoming rise in the new CBA, but if the Lakers are able to sign another marquee free agent, it might be an easier pill to swallow for fans in L.A.
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