DeMar DeRozan Initially Thought He Was Lakers’ Offseason Priority

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Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ exit in the first round of the playoffs, the front office explored trading for stars such as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook. LeBron James setting up a war room of his own at his Brentwood estate for some in-person player meetings while leading remote communications in other conversations.

DeRozan took part in two meetings with James and also kept in touch via phone. DeRozan came away from the meetings believing he was the Lakers’ priority, but as the process unfolded he was concerned about a perceived disconnect between the Lakers’ stars and the front office.

The group focused first on Lillard and Beal, but there was no viable path to trading for either of them considering their teams’ asking prices.

Rob Pelinka eventually locked in on a deal for Buddy Hield over a sign-and-trade for DeRozan before they shifted to a Westbrook trade.

DeRozan eventually went to the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade.