When DeMar DeRozan appeared on The Draymond Green Show earlier this summer, he used the word vengeance to describe his 2021-22 All-NBA-caliber season. His goal was to make those who doubted his fit and referred to him as the league’s worst free agent signing eat their words — and they weren’t the only ones.
During an appearance on J.J. Redick’s latest Old Man & the Three podcast, DeRozan said he exacted revenge on several NBA teams this season. Who were his victims? Well, anyone who thought they could offer the five-time All-Star a minimum contract.
DeRozan first hinted that a front office wanted him to take a veteran minimum deal when speaking with Green. Redick then asked him to clarify, and DeRozan didn’t hesitate:
“Someone offered that yes. I’m not going to say who, someone did offer than and it was another team that said they wouldn’t even come to me with that and disrespect me in any type of way by offering that. But, yeah, that was a thing.”
Co-host and producer Tommy Alter went on to ask whether or not DeRozan filed those offers away as extra motivation. To no surprise, the veteran forward quickly assured him that was the case, even claiming that last year’s box scores could be an indicator of who made a crummy offer:
“For sure. It pissed me off. I try to make it evident, especially when I play certain teams,” DeRozan laughed. “It’s easy to tell because I made it a personal vendetta against a handful of teams for sure. So, it’s obvious, but it was definitely that. It was definitely a great motivational effort that I took from it.”
It’s almost like DeRozan is looking out for bloggers like me! The moment I heard him speak these words was the moment I knew we should pull up his basketball-reference page and make some content.
So, without further ado, let’s try to figure out which team DeMar DeRozan hates the most!
1. Los Angeles Clippers
The first and most likely choice is the Los Angeles Clippers. Not only are they the far inferior little brother of the Lakers – a franchise DeRozan has long loved – but we do know there was communication between the two sides last offseason. In fact, DeRozan called up their front office while they were en route to his home to inform them he was signing with the Chicago Bulls.
Now, the fact discussions got as far as the team driving to his home could suggest they weren’t the ones to make the scoff-worthy request. But we also don’t know what the initial offer was. While the Clippers aren’t a team afraid to pay the luxury tax, they simply didn’t have dollars to spend on a player of DeRozan’s caliber last offseason.
Arguably the most convincing case for the Clippers, however, is that DeRozan dropped a season-high 50 points in an OT win against them on March 31. He shot an absurd 65.4 percent from the field and scored 27 of his points in the fourth quarter and OT. Oh, and before he did this, he dropped 35 points in a game where he went 12-16 from the field and 10-11 from the free-throw line.
So, yeah, to say he embarrassed the Clippers this season would be an understatement.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
DeRozan said he knew there was no way he would end up in Los Angeles the moment the Russell Westbrook trade was made. But did the Lakers?
If there is any organization that is entitled enough to throw a veteran minimum and a multi-time All-Star still averaging 20+ points per game … it would be the Lakers. I also can’t help but think back to DeRozan’s two dominant outings where he combined for 76 points with 12 assists.
Chicago won the first game by 18 and DeRozan shot 65.2 percent from the field. The second performance may have only been a five-point victory, but LeBron James was back on the floor and DeRozan got to the free-throw line for 17 attempts (one away from his season-high). The team was down heading into the final frame, but DeRozan took over and scored 19 points to close things out and grab a second win.
3. New York Knicks
Members of the Knicks’ front office reportedly wanted to pursue DeMar DeRozan. However, top leadership ended up choosing to prioritize inking role player Evan Fournier to a four-year, $78 million deal instead. Is it possible they still ended up going back to DeRozan with a vet minimum recommendation? Or perhaps they could be the team that told him they didn’t want to disrespect him with that proposal?
Regardless, apparent connections between DeRozan and the Knicks were well-documented by the New York Post’s Marc Berman. He went on to report mid-season that New York was one of DeRozan’s preferred landing spots, even sharing that one source told him DeRozan would have chosen New York if they had matched Chicago’s contract.
If DeRozan was this keen on the Knicks, but they refused to take him seriously, it certainly feels like they could be in the running for the top on his sh*t list. After all, he did average 30.5 points, 5.3 assists, and 5.0 rebounds and went 36-37 from the free throw line over their four games this season.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
DeRozan’s second-biggest scoring game of the season came against the 76ers in early February. He went toe-to-toe with Joel Embiid on his way to 45 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists on an 18-30 performance from the field.
Considering he outplayed the MVP candidate at the time, this certainly feels like it could have been a performance fueled by sheer vengeance. Plus, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer did list Philly as a team that showed interest in DeRozan’s services during the early portion of free agency. So could their embarrassingly low offer have been the reason that conversations didn’t go any further?
I don’t know. The Bulls lost all four of their games this season to Philly, including that 45-point gem from DeRozan. I find it hard that he would have sounded that satisfied with his revenge under those circumstances. But, hey, he did score more points on this team (130) than any other this season!
5. Boston Celtics
Before Boston was one of the most dominant defensive teams in the league and gearing up for a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, DeRozan made them look silly. His second-most efficient game of the season came against the Celtics in early November. He dropped 37 points on just 15-20 shooting from the field as the Bulls cruised to an easy 14-point win.
For what it’s worth, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer also previously listed the Celtics as a team that sniffed around DeRozan in the free agent process.
6. Milwaukee Bucks
Another team that didn’t have much spending power, I guess it’s possible the reigning champions were on a high horse and tried to lowball DeRozan. And, hey, if there is any time to make a statement, it would be in the playoffs.
DeRozan’s 41 points in Game 2 (tying the series) was one of the most memorable individual performances by a Bull of the last decade. He basically single-handedly lifted the team to that one playoff win at the Fiserv Forum, and I suppose it could have had the Bucks wondering “what if” for a brief moment in time.