KEY POINTS

  • Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan could join the Lakers via the mid-level exception route
  • Carmelo Anthony may also have a shot at joining the team through a veteran’s minimum scenario
  • DeRozan to the Lakers may not happen after the Russell Westbrook deal, a report says

The Los Angeles Lakers are looming as favorites to win the 2021-22 NBA title following the Russell Westbrook trade. With the formation of a new “Big Three” came reports that some popular free agent names are willing to take a pay cut to join the team.

According to unnamed NBA executives who spoke to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, several veterans, including DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony, are willing to accept less money to join Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis in pursuing a championship next NBA season.

Of the three names mentioned, DeRozan may have the lowest chances of signing with the team. It was previously reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, citing unnamed sources, that the four-time All-Star’s chances of joining the purple and gold dried up following the Westbrook deal.

DeMar DeRozan San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan #10 of the San Antonio Spurs in action against the Miami Heat during the first half of the preseason game at American Airlines Arena on October 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Mark Brown/Getty Images

It is possible that DeRozan's addition could have happened if an agreement was reached before the blockbuster Westbrook deal, the report suggested. However, adding him to the team would have required a sign-and-trade scenario and a Kyle Kuzma inclusion. If the 31-year-old were to join the Lakers, he would have to agree to a more than $20 million pay cut in the process.

As for Gay, he too would have to sacrifice big money. After making $14.5 million last season, the only way for him to crack the Lakers’ roster is via the mid-level exception route. Regardless, joining Los Angeles will only happen if he is ready to take in less money.

Anthony is no stranger when it comes to links to a move to the Lakers. He holds close ties with James and would love to join a team ready to win an NBA title. At 37, the former scoring champion is unlikely to return to the Portland Trail Blazers next season.

But for the 10-time NBA All-Star to join the team, his best chance is to agree to a minimum deal. With a well-decorated resume, he appears to be a player who could be added to the Lakers roster soon. He is someone who can provide scoring, likely coming off the bench.

All this depends on what head coach Frank Vogel has in mind, assuming they seal the deal with the 3rd overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft.

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers Photo: Getty Images | Ashley Landis-Pool