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DeMar DeRozan Thought His Sign-And-Trade with Lakers Was a “Done Deal,” Which, Wait … What?

Chicago Bulls

The Los Angeles Lakers were interested in acquiring DeMar DeRozan this summer. That is not new information. DeMar DeRozan had interest in returning home to play with the Lakers (or the Clippers) this summer. That is also not new information.

But DeRozan thinking his future with the Lakers was a done deal?! Ding, ding ding. That’s some juicy new intel! And we need to unpack it.

According to comments DeRozan made to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the plan to get the four-time All-Star in a Lakers jersey was so legitimately in the works that DeRozan once thought it was a “done deal.”

“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and that we were going to figure it out. I was going to come home,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports. “The business side of things just didn’t work out. A couple of things didn’t align. It didn’t work out. It’s just part of the business, part of the game. My next option was definitely Chicago. So, looking back at it, it worked out well.

The fact Chicago was the second fiddle bothers me approximately .002 percent. No one can blame a player of DeRozan’s caliber for sniffing around the powerhouse Lakers, especially when that player has so many strong ties to the city of Los Angeles. And, hey, Chicago even being in DeRozan’s top-2 speaks volumes about the tide this front office has turned, right?

Actually, wait, don’t answer that! I have a more important question for you to ponder first: WHERE THE HELL IS THE LAKERS TAMPERING INVESTIGATION!?

DeRozan does not just say he thought a future with the Lakers was on the table, but he thought a deal was already done. Furthermore, Haynes specifically writes that DeRozan’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, was hard at work with the Spurs front office to orchestrate a sign-and-trade agreement with the Lakers. All of this was reportedly being done before draft day, July 29th, which is when LA pulled off the Russell Westbrook trade. Free agency wouldn’t start for another four days.

DeMar DeRozan had multiple conversations with LeBron James in the offseason. His agent, Aaron Goodwin, worked feverishly behind the scenes with the San Antonio Spurs’ front office to get details ironed out on what would have been a sign-and-trade package to send the 13-year free agent veteran to his hometown team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

To be clear, the play-to-player conversation is not what stands out. Players talk, and, for the most part, this isn’t going to get anyone in trouble. The reported early conversation about the sign-and-trade logistics, on the other hand, is exactly why the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat are currently being investigated by the NBA. The nuance of a sign-and-trade deal takes a lot of time, and there was enough time spent on it between both the Spurs and Lakers that DeRozan was able to use the words “done deal.”

I’m not the only one who smells something fishy here either. The Athletic’s John Hollinger pointed out similar confusion by the story’s timeline early today.

Look, I’m not trying to be the tampering police (the Bulls being in a glass house, and all). Because while I can understand why certain practices are put into place, I think the entire rule is largely pointless (to say nothing of ineffective).

But it all becomes worse, when the league chooses to penalize some teams and not others. It certainly undermines the efforts to make an example out of the Bulls and Heat.

The fact of the matter is that tampering is deeply embedded in the league’s offseason operations, so slapping a couple of teams on the wrist, while 28 others run free, isn’t going to change anything. It’s also not exactly fair.

Anyway, I’m getting too worked up about all of this, so instead of babbling, I’ll instead encourage you to give the rest of the Haynes piece a read.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.