Two of the best players expected to enter the unrestricted free agent market this offseason would do well to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times, San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry both have the Lakers on their radar before free agency.
Either player could be a huge addition to a Lakers squad that followed their 2020 championship with a disappointing first-round exit in this year’s playoffs.
DeRozan, 31, would apparently be a natural fit with the Lakers since he’s a native of Compton, Calif., Who played his college basketball at USC.
The 12-year-old NBA veteran is a four-time All-Star, and he’s averaged 20 points per game or better in each of the past eight campaigns.
Last season, DeRozan appeared in 61 games for Spurs and averaged 21.6 points and 4.2 rebounds and a career-high 6.9 assists.
The former Raptors star isn’t much of a long-range shooter with just 0.4 three-pointers per game and a 28.1% three-point shooting percentage for his career, but he does everything else. good.
Lowry, the former DeRozan Raptors teammate, has been one of the NBA’s best playmakers for the past few seasons.
The 35-year-old is a six-time All-Star, winning the honor in six consecutive seasons from 2014-15 to 2019-20.
Lowry, who helped Toronto win a championship in 2019, racked up impressive numbers in his nine seasons with the Raptors.
In 601 regular season games as a member of the Raptors, Lowry averaged 17.5 points, 7.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 three-pointers and 1.5 steals.
Although injuries limited him to 46 games last season, Lowry had one of his best statistical campaigns, averaging 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 2.8 three-point shots and 1.0 steal.
According to Jovan Buha and Bill Oram of The Athletic, the Lakers were in talks with the Raptors about acquiring Lowry ahead of last season’s trade deadline, but no deal was reached.
Lowry and DeRozan are both quality playmakers who would give the Lakers another capable ball handler alongside LeBron James.
Such a player is made even more important by the fact that goaltender Dennis Schroder is about to hit free agency and might not be back with the Lakers.
As Turner noted, the only players under contract with the Lakers for next season from now on are James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol and Alfonzo McKinnie. Montrezl Harrell could also return to the squad if he exercises his player option.
The Lakers would benefit greatly from a third star to accompany James and Davis, and there is no doubt that DeRozan or Lowry would fit in well.
LA may even want both players, but given their salary cap situation, that seems unlikely unless DeRozan and Lowry are willing to take a lot less money than they could get elsewhere.