Initially expected at the Lakers and then finally signed by the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan returned to his turbulent 2021 Free Agency. A not necessarily pleasant memory for the Chicago winger.
Summer 2021, Los Angeles. After a first round elimination against Phoenix, the Lakers want to strengthen to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis to seek a new title. Several tracks are mentioned: Buddy Hield of the Kings, Russell Westbrook of the Wizards and… DeMar DeRozan. The winger, at the end of the contract in San Antonio, saw himself signing with the Lakers. What a surprise at the same time, DMDR is a native of the City of Angels and he never hid that Kobe Bryant was his childhood idol. Convincing the player to put on the Purple and Gold jersey was therefore not an impossible mission, far from it. Problem, DeMar wanted a three-year contract and the management of the Angelinos was not hot to give him the deal. It was therefore Russell Westbrook who landed in LA in an XXL trade against Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In the mind of a lambda fan, it is therefore a simple sporting decision but for DeRozan, it was a real blow. While he thought the deal was “done”, the five-time All-Star finally took a huge rake from his preferred destination. What make him doubt deeply in relation to the result of the Free Agency, as he was able to confirm to Draymond Green in the podcast of the latter.
“It didn’t go as planned. It raised a lot of doubts in me and it threw me into darkness because I started to ask myself: Ok, where do I go now? What player will I be? A lot of these questions started to come up and a lot of people didn’t realize that the big names always sign on day one or day two. Was I going somewhere with a one-year contract? Was I going to take the minimum? »
Even more than a contract story, this uncertainty about his future has aroused anxieties in the player. In 2018, DeRozan opened up for the first time about his difficulties in fighting depression and obviously this Free Agency 2021 was particularly complicated to live with.
“I remember during this whole period – it was three, four days in a row – I didn’t leave the room. I didn’t see the sun go down. I did not see the sun rise. I was depressed. It put me in a depressed state of mind because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Was I going to come to Los Angeles? It fell through and it didn’t happen. We see guys signing elsewhere. Everyone asked me, “What are you going to do?” At times, I had no idea what I was going to do. »
Fortunately for the winger, Chicago then arrives with an 85 million three-year contract and Kyle Lowry’s best friend goes to Illinois via a sign-and-trade between Spurs and Bulls. The rest, we know, DMDR will slam his best career season in Windy City, positioning himself for a moment as a credible candidate for the title of MVP (27.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 50% in shot and 35% from a distance). A good way to find the smile but also to silence the critics and those who doubted him when he arrived at the bulls.
Joy at the idea of imagining himself at the Lakers, disappointment after having taken a wind from the Angelinos, depressed state when thinking about the sequel and finally relief on his arrival at the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan went through all the emotions at the Free Agency 2021. Given the seasons in Chicago and Los Angeles, he must probably tell himself that he did well.
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DeMar DeRozan reflects on his discomfort at the Free Agency 2021
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