DeRozan: 'It was a realistic option' to take pay cut and join Lakers
DeMar DeRozan was prepared to make a sacrifice to head home.
The Chicago Bulls star revealed he was willing to accept a lower salary as a free agent this past summer in order to join the Los Angeles Lakers, who have reportedly been linked with the veteran multiple times throughout his career.
"I wouldn't say substantial," DeRozan told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks when asked about the pay cut he would've agreed to. "It was an option. It was a realistic option."
The four-time All-Star laid out his reasoning for joining the Lakers, a team that previously tempted him as a free agent during his time with the Toronto Raptors.
"One, I wanted to go home, because the opportunity to go home, you don't get that opportunity often," he said. "I got it before but I decided to stay in Toronto.
"It was an option. Have the opportunity to play with one of the greatest players of all time, why not? It's hard to turn that down. Then wanting to compete for a championship in your hometown - all those elements just had lined up to allow me to consider a realistic pay cut."
Ultimately, the L.A. native and USC product spurned the chance to go home. He cashed in on a reported three-year, $85-million contract with the Bulls, who acquired him through a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs.
The decision appears to have paid dividends on the court, as Chicago has been one of the most surprising teams of the campaign. With DeRozan as their top scorer, the Bulls are 30-17 and just a half-game behind the Miami Heat for the top seed in the East. The Lakers are currently 24-24, good for ninth in the Western Conference.