Lakers made the right call in approach to DeMar DeRozan signing saga

The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on signing DeMar DeRozan. Based on new reports, it's clear Los Angeles made the right call in the long run.
Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers will be linked to DeMar DeRozan until the day he retires. DeRozan was and raised in Compton, grew up a Kobe Bryant fan, and played a memorable season with the USC Trojans before entering the 2009 NBA Draft.

Another offseason has passed, however, and DeRozan still isn't wearing the purple and gold—and that isn't necessarily a bad thing for either side.

DeRozan recently signed with the Sacramento Kings on a deal that will see him return to the West Coast. He inked a three-year, $73.7 million contract with Sacramento and projects to become a featured scoring threat from day one.

In a recent appearance on Stadium's The Rally, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Lakers never actually made an offer to DeRozan or the Bulls in a potential sign-and-trade that would've seen him end up in a different part of California.

For those who can't watch the video, Charania said the following:

"...I'm told the Lakers never went beyond expressing just simple interest in DeRozan. There were no offers or tangible conversations with the Bulls on a sign-and-trade deal."

Some dots need to be connected, but the bottom line is that Los Angeles made the educated decision to proceed in a different direction.

Lakers never made an offer for DeMar DeRozan in free agency

It's possible that the Lakers spoke with DeRozan and quickly realized that he'd priced himself out of their range. It's also feasible that Los Angeles explored the fit, discussed a potential role, and decided that the two sides were too far apart in philosophy.

For that matter, DeRozan could've even told the Lakers that he had made a decision about which teams he preferred—omitting the purple and gold entirely.

Regardless of what the reason was, the Lakers were wise to hold off on bringing DeRozan into the fold. He's one of the best players of his generation, with three All-NBA nods, six All-Star Game appearances, and 23,582 career points on his résumé.

For as true as that may be, Los Angeles was wise to refrain from adding him to the current roster—not necessarily because of what he does well, but because of the crucial context.

Los Angeles has made it no secret that it wants to shoot more three-point field goals in 2024-25 after ranking 28th in attempts in 2023-24. DeRozan is a top-tier midrange scorer, but his lack of proficiency and willingness to attempt shots from distance could spell a poor fit.

It may have helped open up a window for the 2024-25 season, but it's fair to question how well DeRozan would fit from the simple perspective of skill set and style of play.

Furthermore, DeRozan will turn 35 ahead of the 2024-25 season and there's no guarantee that he'll maintain his high-level form. That's a risk the Lakers simply couldn't take with LeBron James soon to turn 40 and Anthony Davis already in his 30s, as well.

As Los Angeles shifts toward a youth movement that aims to supplement the talent of Davis and James, adding another player in their mid-30s would pose a philosophical conflict. Yes, the talent is undeniable, but sometimes it just doesn't fit.

Instead, the Lakers held true to their vision—and whether that vision succeeds or not, not jumping at the first shiny toy they see is a sign of progress.