No team has gone more “all in” than the Chicago Bulls this summer, who made aggressive, blockbuster moves in order to add multiple dynamic talents including DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball.
And while Arturas Karnisovas and the front office’s approach has garnered some respect around the league, there’s deserved skepticism that this core can win.
How will the three year, $85-million deal the Bulls gave DeRozan look if they fail to make the playoffs for the fifth year in a row?
Barring any heroic, MVP caliber season from the 32-year old, expect his contract to be the first topic fans turn to in frustration next summer.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has gone as far as to call DeRozan’s deal Chicago’s “worst contract,” in his latest column.
Fortunately, if things did take a turn for the worse in the Windy City, he’s also provided the team with a solution to what he’s calling a big problem.
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Can the Bulls Win Now?
The largest concern with DeMar DeRozan’s fit on this Chicago Bulls team is easily his lack of an outside shot. He’s a career 28% shooter.
Buckley cited that as his primary concern for the veteran’s future in the Windy City:
His inability to space the floor shrinks his margin for error on offense, and he needs to be razor-sharp there because he gives back an awful lot at the opposite end.
It’s possible that DeRozan’s lack of effort on defense is overstated, but Buckley isn’t wrong in arguing the precision he’s going to require on offense.
Things are already going to be rough at first for the Bulls, with a new point guard in Lonzo Ball also joining the fray.
It’s unclear what kind of role head coach Billy Donovan and his staff have set aside for DeRozan, who averaged a career-high 6.9 assists per game last season.
Training camp and preseason will be crucial for this Chicago Bulls team.
If things start sliding early into the season, don’t be surprised when the DeMar DeRozan rumors start up.
There are few teams under more pressure to win next season, and Zach LaVine’s yet to sign an extension.
DeRozan to Sacramento?
Should the Chicago Bulls feel ready to move on from DeMar DeRozan at some point late this season, Zach Buckley thinks the Sacramento Kings would take interest:
…it’s possible the Sacramento Kings might value DeRozan’s shot-creation more than Buddy Hield’s three-point shooting. A straight-up swap works financially, and each club could walk away thinking it had better positioned its offense for success.
Hield was one of the best high-volume shooters in the entire NBA last season, with averages of 10.2 three-point attempts nightly and a 39% shooting percentage.
Like DeRozan, he’s under contract through the 2023-2024 season, but it’s conceivable to think his salary would be easier to move in any situation.
Every team needs shooting, and the Chicago Bulls are no exception, even now.
The only issue with Buckley’s proposal is that DeRozan can’t be traded until six months have passed since he signed his contract.
But, that’s also the kind of timeline that would have to transpire before Karnisovas and company considered moving the four-time All-Star.
If Hield were still available at that point, a swap of the two players holds ground as an improvement for both parties.
But the development of 12th overall pick Davion Mitchell could also derail any potential interest from the Kings, if they’re truly after ball handling.
For now, trust that the Chicago Bulls are “all in” with the core they’ve assembled this summer.