On November 28, 2023, a report surfaced linking the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers to a potential trade for DeMar DeRozan, the all-star small forward for the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have been struggling with a locker room rift that has carried over from last season. Currently, they have only five wins in the first 18 games, and are on a four-game losing streak.
The Bulls have the third-lowest scoring average in the NBA, with only 106.7 points per game. DeRozan, at 34 years old, has been able to maintain a strong performance, boasting an average of 21.5 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game. His potential trade has prompted the Lakers to offer a deal involving guard DeAngelo Russell, forward Rui Hachimura, and a 2029 first-round pick.
There has also been speculation about trading Zach LaVine, the Bulls’ leading scorer, with interested parties including the Lakers, 76ers, and Miami Heat. DeRozan himself has expressed his desire to stay with the Bulls and seek a contract extension.
DeRozan almost joined the Lakers twice in his career. In 2018, he was sent to the San Antonio Spurs as part of a trade for Kawhi Leonard. Then, in 2021, negotiations with the Lakers fell through, and he joined the Bulls instead. The Lakers later acquired Russell Westbrook instead, but they were still interested in DeRozan prior to last season’s trade deadline.
Currently, the Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings and advanced to the knockout stage in the In-Season Tournament. However, they are in need of a third playmaker to shoulder the scoring load, especially when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are out with injuries.
Despite the struggle, the Lakers remain one of the popular picks to win the championship, though their odds currently sit at +1700. Other teams in their division have also emerged as strong competitors, with the Phoenix Suns the favorite to win the Pacific Division, followed by the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers, and the LA Clippers.