But sometimes players get caught up in the moment and express loyalty to their team in a way that doesn’t reflect reality.
How does DeRozan really feel?
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, as transcribed by Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation:
“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.”
When DeRozan opts out this summer, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. So, if you want to dismiss the rest of Smith’s report because he got that fact wrong, I wouldn’t blame you. That might be the prudent approach.
But if Smith got the rest of this right, DeRozan will probably sign with the Lakers.
The Lakers were reportedly set to offer DeRozan a max contract – at least before his his playoff struggles, Game 5 notwithstanding. I’d guess DeRozan’s rough postseason won’t dissuade the Lakers, at least if they can’t lure bigger stars like Kevin Durant and LeBron James. DeRozan became a legitimate star during the regular season (a bigger sample), and Jim Buss needs a quick upgrade to keep his job.