DeMar DeRozan thought he would play with a four-time MVP before joining the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2021.
On September 29th’s episode of “The Old Man and The Three” podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter, DeRozan said he felt he would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The All-Star guard was an unrestricted free agent and took part in meetings at James’ house.
The Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards instead of signing DeRozan, who joined the Bulls via a sign-and-trade deal with the San Antonio Spurs. The USC product flourished with Chicago and helped the franchise make the playoffs for the first time since 2017, while Westbrook was a poor fit in Los Angeles next to James and Davis.
DeRozan told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports in November the same thing he said to Redick to Alter.
“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and that we were going to figure it out. I was going to come home,” DeRozan told Haynes in November. “The business side of things just didn’t work out. A couple of things didn’t align. It didn’t work out. It’s just part of the business, part of the game. My next option was definitely Chicago. So, looking back at it, it worked out well.”
DeRozan Was a Superstar for the Bulls
DeRozan played like a superstar for the Bulls last season. He averaged 27.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 50.4% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc and 87.7% from the free-throw line. The five-time All-Star was second in total points, fifth in points per game and 13th in player efficiency rating.
DeRozan scored at least 30 points 28 times for the Bulls, who won 46 games. The veteran guard made the All-NBA second team and proved he’s still one of the best players in the world despite not being a volume 3-point shooter.
Although Chicago lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2022 playoffs in five games, the franchise has a bright future with DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading the way. LaVine and DeRozan formed a potent duo in 2021-22. They averaged a combined 52.3 points and represented the Bulls in the All-Star game in Cleveland.
LeBron Wanted DeRozan Instead of Westbrook
James reportedly wanted DeRozan on the Lakers instead of Westbrook, who was second in the NBA in turnovers last season. While James, DeRozan and Davis could have been a lethal Big 3, Bulls fans are undoubtedly happy that DeRozan is in Chicago.
DeRozan played with James in the Drew League on July 16th and spoke about how special it was for the King to show up for the first time since 2011. James and DeRozan’s team, the MMV Cheaters, defeated the Black Pearl Elite by a final score of 104-102.
“Just to see the kids out there bein’ able to see LeBron James come play in Compton, like you cannot beat that,” DeRozan said on the July 28th episode of The Draymond Green Show. “You know and the atmosphere was one of a kind. It was special. I was honored to be a part of it and, you know, I gotta give credit to Bron. You talkin’ about a guy that’s the GOAT in our league, goin’ into his 20th season, you know, goin’ out there playin’. Like what we grew up watchin’, you know what I mean? It was an amazin’ feelin’. I had a great time just bein’ out there, you know, playin’ with him obviously.”
The Bulls went 2-0 against the Lakers last season, with DeRozan averaging 38.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists.