At 1:47 p.m. San Antonio time, it was reported that San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan was planning to meet with the L.A. Clippers during his first day as a free agent. By 3:01, he had officially agreed to be a Chicago Bull.
I'll be honest, when I saw that tweet from Chris Haynes hit my timeline, I was worried. After all, DeMar had recently talked about returning to Los Angeles and emphasized he wanted to go to a contender. It made some sense. Then again, the Clippers had very little money to offer him and their most realistic shot was a sign-and-trade with the cooperation of the Spurs.
Still, discussion among my colleagues in our Slack channel began to make me paranoid. "Are we really getting Kennard for DeMar?" someone said. I immediately began thinking of that scenario and how terrible of a deal it would be. Then it got even worse when I started picturing a one-two punch of Kawhi Leonard and DeMar taking it to the Spurs.
Fortunately, it never got that far. Try as they did, the Clippers were a little too late thanks to some fast dealing by the Spurs with the Bulls. Chris Haynes, who used to cover the Spurs, had the story for Yahoo! Sports.
"The Clippers' brass were on their way to DeMar's house," said Haynes. "Things got a little more interesting with the Bulls. DeMar DeRozan's agent called the Clippers out of courtesy and was like, 'you know what, let's not waste anybody's time. Out of respect for you guys, let's cancel this meeting.' The Clippers were going to have to do a ton of work to even get to a point where they could offer him something of value."
While Haynes went on to say DeMar wasn't going to weigh any mid-level or serious pay-cut options from either L.A. team anyway, it's still a good thing the Spurs got the deal with Chicago done as quickly as they did. I wouldn't rule anything out in a meeting in which he could've been convinced he had a serious chance to win an NBA title.
In the end, the Spurs made out like bandits in the deal that sent DeMar to Chicago for Thaddeus Young and assets when they likely would've gotten nothing otherwise.
The first thing I said in my 5 Things to do the minute free agency begins piece was to be quick for once. I'm glad the Spurs' front office listened.