2. DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan wanted to join the Lakers when he was a free agent in 2021 and the five-time All-Star even thought it was a done deal before the franchise traded for Russell Westbrook. Getting Russ eliminated the room for DeRozan, so the 6’6 forward accepted a three-year $81.9 million deal he received from the Bulls in a sign-and-trade.
All he has done since is make two more All-Star appearances and cement his status as one of the best scorers in the league.
The 34-year-old wants to play in Los Angeles, and his best chance could be on the horizon. He is on a $28.6 million expiring contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Lakers could trade Gabe Vincent and D’Angelo Russell to land DeRozan to solve any ball-handling and scoring issues they have.
Unfortunately, the five-time All-Star is not the cleanest fit because of his lack of 3-point shooting and defense.
If the Los Angeles Lakers are searching for an influx of top-end talent, they will struggle to land someone better. The Bulls may enter a rebuild before the deadline and would be lucky to get more than one first-round pick and a couple of seconds for DeRozan. It would mean going back to the three star route but could be the Lakers’ best chance.