Nearly 18 months have passed since the Chicago Bulls bet big on aging mid-ranger DeMar DeRozan with a three-year, $81.9 million sign-and-trade deal. And while the analytics hipsters pooh-poohed the deal at the outset, the team’s ROI on the move has been incredible.
As of this writing, DeRozan is averaging 27.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 0.9 steals through 122 appearances with the Windy City crew while shooting 51% from the floor, 34% from deep and 88% from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, he has made more clutch and game-winning shots than anyone else on the team by a college mile.
Really, he’s been the Bulls’ top player, go-to option and most consistent baller overall despite the presence of Zach LaVine — and his monster salary — on the roster.
Regardless, one NBA GM believes that the five-time All-Star is destined to leave the Bulls (and sooner rather than later).
Eastern Conference GM: Bulls & DeMar DeRozan Headed for a Parting of Ways
Given his age and throwback game, DeRozan doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a modern franchise cornerstone, even if that has essentially been his spot for the last year and a half. With that in mind, Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney spoke to an Eastern Conference GM about the situation between DeRozan and the Bulls.
And, well… the exec sees some issues on the horizon between the two sides, despite the best efforts of all involved to keep the train on the tracks.
“They have painted themselves into a corner with the roster being the way it is, especially if they do not extend [Nikola] Vucevic,” said the GM. “They have DeRozan on for one more year and they can either trade him next summer while he has some value or commit to him long-term with an extension, which would be a tough thing to do as long as you still have Zach [LaVine] there.”
The GM understands that LaVine and DeRozan are trying to make things work. At some point, though, he sees the Bulls hitching the cart to one over the other.
Things Coming to a Head Between DeRozan & LaVine?
While relations have remained cordial/respectful/friendly (pick your adjective here) between DeRozan and his younger co-star, the GM is certain that the Bulls are going to have to pick a lane sooner rather than later.
“They get along fine, but it is no secret that LaVine wants to be the alpha there, so if they extend DeRozan, what happens with Zach? If they don’t trade DeRozan and they don’t give him an extension, they could lose him with no return.”
So, with all of that being said, how does the GM sees things playing out for DeRozan in Chicago?
“[DeRozan] will be 34 at the start of next year. The Bulls will not want to give him four years under any circumstances, and that’s probably where things will end. It is probably going to wind up with them trading him away and bringing back a couple of role players who they feel can help out LaVine.”
Hardly a fitting ending for perhaps the best thing to happen to the Bulls since Derrick Rose was leading the charge.