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Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan forces Lakers to wonder what might’ve been after dominating them for 38 points in blowout

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DeMar DeRozan may have signed with the Chicago Bulls this offseason, but he made it perfectly clear in the buildup to free agency that he wanted to join the Los Angeles Lakers. The Los Angeles native idolized Kobe Bryant growing up. He spoke openly about how flattering it was to be mentioned in trade rumors with his childhood team and declared that joining a championship contender was his goal during the offseason. Reports suggested that he was prepared to take a pay cut to join the Lakers. He met with LeBron James at least twice, according to The Athletic. “It almost happened,” DeRozan said of his Lakers courtship. 

Instead, his hometown team chose another star. Russell Westbrook became a Laker hours before the 2021 NBA Draft. DeRozan was left without an obvious home. Chicago swooped in and made him a strong $85 million offer, and thus far, they’ve been major beneficiaries of Rob Pelinka’s decision. DeRozan averaged 26.1 points in Chicago’s first 13 games. The 9-4 Bulls sat less than a game short of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. That made Monday’s decimation of the Lakers the cherry on top of the best start of DeRozan’s career. 

The four-time All-Star dropped 38 points on the team that spurned him, and he did it on their home floor. Chicago waltzed its way to an easy 121-103 victory, and after watching Westbrook miss all six of his 3-point attempts, the Lakers can only wonder what might have been. 

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The Bulls sent the Spurs Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu and a first-round in the DeRozan sign-and-trade in August. It’s not hard to envision the Lakers building a package enticing enough to eschew that first-rounder with some combination of Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell. All three ultimately landed in Washington. All three could’ve helped the Spurs. Kuzma played for Gregg Popovich at Team USA’s training camp for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Anthony Davis rocked the Spurs for 34 points on Sunday because they lacked a backup center behind Jakob Poeltl. Every team can use a three-and-D wing like Caldwell-Pope. 

Acquiring DeRozan through a sign-and-trade presented one notable challenge for the Lakers: the hard-cap. When teams acquire players through a sign-and-trade, the full mid-level exception or the bi-annual exception, they are not allowed to spend above a figure called the apron (roughly $6 million above the tax line). The Lakers were hampered by it last season after using the full mid-level on Harrell. Reports hinted that they wanted to avoid triggering it again for fear of the flexibility it might cost them. 

In practice, that flexibility would have been minimal. The hard cap line is roughly $143 million this season. James, Davis and DeRozan (at the salary he signed in Chicago for) would have cost the Lakers less than $105 million. Even with $5 million in dead money, the Lakers would have had slightly more than $33 million left to spend beneath the hard cap. In reality, they spent only around $36 million on their roster aside from James, Davis and Westbrook this season. That gap is tiny in the grand scheme of things. Had DeRozan taken the pay-cut he was reportedly considering, that difference might have disappeared entirely. Even if it hadn’t, ownership would have saved a fortune in tax bills and been freed from the hard cap next offseason, giving the Lakers more room to build around a trio featuring DeRozan. 

The truth of why DeRozan isn’t a Laker doesn’t appear nearly so complex. Without getting far in trade talks and unable to settle on a contract number, the Lakers seemingly decided they preferred Hield, according to The Athletic. It’s just not fully clear why. Hield is a far stronger 3-point shooter, but if that was such a priority, the Lakers likely wouldn’t have landed on Westbrook. DeRozan was always the middle ground between their two extremes. While he rarely shoots 3-pointers, his mid-range game made him more of a spacer than Westbrook, but a stronger shot-creator than Hield. DeRozan is shooting roughly 37 percent from behind the arc this season. Westbrook is down to around 29 percent. 

It’s too early to declare the Westbrook trade a loss. He’s adjusting to his fourth team in four years, and the Lakers have a roster that is hardly optimized for his skill set. The same is somewhat true of DeRozan. His defensive shortcomings might have looked more apparent on a roster with fewer point-of-attack stoppers. He might not be shooting so well if he had to share ball-handling duties with so many other creators. 

But DeRozan has been the vastly superior player through the first month of the season. He proved it emphatically on Monday night, and until the Lakers figure out how to maximize Westbrook and the deeply flawed roster they put around him, they’re going to have to wonder what could have been had they just brought DeRozan home as he wanted. 

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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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