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DeMar DeRozan and the biggest NBA stars who could have worn Purple and Gold…but didn’t

November 25, 2021

In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Lakers were handily beaten by the Chicago Bulls earlier this week. DeMar DeRozan torched his hometown team with a game-high 38 points on 15-of-23 shooting from the field.

Photo credit: Bulls/Instagram

The four-time All-Star has silenced his critics this season and is having a phenomenal start to his Bulls career. In a parallel universe, DeRozan is probably inflicting this much damage while wearing a Purple and Gold jersey. 

It was actually a possibility this offseason, when the Compton, California-native was among the hottest commodities in free agency. Heck, even DeRozan himself was convinced he was going to LA at one point. 

“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and that we were going to figure it out. I was going to come home,” DeRozan said, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“The business side of things just didn’t work out. A couple of things didn’t align. It didn’t work out. It’s just part of the business, part of the game. My next option was definitely Chicago. So, looking back at it, it worked out well.”

Considering LA’s status as a prime destination, the Lakers have had success in bringing in a lot of talent over the years. However, there are also plenty of big-name players who were supposed to play for the Lakers, but for some reason, it just didn’t push through. 

Today, we’ll be playing a game of What Ifs?  Let’s list some of the best superstars who could have played for the Lakers. 

Chris Paul

Considering this happened not too long ago, this one still stings the most. Sure, Chris Paul did call Staples Center his home for six seasons, but it doesn’t really count, right? It’s for the Clippers. Enough said. 

Let’s re-open some old wounds. CP3 was on his way to LaLa Land back in 2011, as the New Orleans Hornets agreed to ship him to LA in what was supposed to be a three-team deal. Can you imagine Kobe Bryant playing alongside arguably the greatest point guard he’s ever teamed up with? Let’s not forget Pau Gasol was also in his prime back then. 

But it wasn’t meant to be. In an unprecedented turn of events, the late David Stern (may his soul rest in peace) decided to nix that deal. 

Can he do that? Well, he was the league’s commissioner at the time, and let’s not forget the NBA briefly owned the Hornets franchise back then. 

Chris Paul in Purple in Gold. Man, that would have been something. 

Kevin Garnett

The Big Ticket figured in a lot of epic battles against the Lakers throughout his storied career. Of course, we remember him most as the thorn in the side of the Lakers in the 2008 and 2010 Finals as a member of the Celtics. 

But before he moved to Beantown, KG considered jumping ship from the cold winters in Minnesota to the sunny California weather. So why didn’t it happen? 

Turns out, it just came down to two missed calls. Appearing on All The Smoke Podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Garnett revealed that he tried to call Kobe Bryant in the summer of ’07 to discuss the possibility of playing together. 

“I wanted to link with (Kobe Bryant),” Garnett admitted. 

“I shouted at Kobe he didn’t pick the line-up. T-Lue (Tyronn Lue) and Kobe were close, and he said, ‘shoot at him again and see what he on.’ So I shouted again and he didn’t get back, so I had to make a decision.”

Damn. Maybe Kobe was busy working on his game at the time. 

Charles Barkley

Before being the NBA on TNT host that we know and love, Sir Charles was one heck of a basketball player. He played his prime years in Phoenix, where he even led the Suns to a Finals appearance in ’93. 

But if only one Sixer executive did not experience cold feet, the Round Mound of Rebound could have been one of the Lakers’ all-time greatest players. As Barkley’s tenure with the Sixers ran its course, he was briefly traded to the Lakers in 1992. 

“The Sixers backed out. It was going crazy for two weeks so I knew it would come down to Portland,  Lakers or Phoenix,” he shared in an interview in 2015. 

That crazy story had a hilarious ending, as Barkley claimed he was drinking when he got that phone call and had to play an NBA game drunk since he thought he would have been traded by then.

Anyhow, that trade didn’t materialize. It may be a stretch, but could you imagine if Barkley and Shaq became teammates in Los Angeles somehow? 

So, there you have it. Which botched Lakers deal are you most irked by the most?

written by Kriel Ibarrola