Bulls Star DeMar DeRozan Provides Significant Status Update

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls looks on during a stop in play.

The Chicago Bulls (20-24) got a big 132-114 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday marking their first victory over the reigning champs since 2017. And they did it without star forward DeMar DeRozan, unquestionably the team’s best player since he arrived last summer.

This win, combined with the Toronto Raptors falling 114-103 to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, pushed the Bulls back into the 10-seed and a spot in the Play-In Tournament.

Now, they are overseas to take on the Detroit Pistons returning to Paris, France for the first time since 1997. It is their only game for the next week – interestingly they host the Hawks upon their return on January 23 – and head coach Billy Donovan said he plans on using the eight-hour flight to study “a lot of film”.

It sounds like he will have his best player back to work into the game plan as well.

Bulls Catch Break on DeMar DeRozan’s Injury

“DeMar DeRozan said he’s playing on Thursday vs. Pistons,” tweeted NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson. “Billy Donovan said DeRozan participated as the Bulls got in a “get-the-blood-flowing” short practice after landing in Paris.”

Donovan has been consistent that the Bulls did not believe DeRozan’s strained quad which has knocked him out the last three games was anything serious echoing the player’s sentiments.

Both sides acknowledged it was more an issue of dealing with the discomfort of the injury.

“I mean I feel fine other than just…being real irritating and uncomfortable,” DeRozan said noting that it was an aggravation of a pre-existing injury and not a new one. “Nothing too crazy. It’s just in that spot where moving…you need that to kind of simmer down and not be so sore where it’s at. Kind of making me feel limited in making certain type of moves.”

The Bulls are 1-2 without DeRozan – who is averaging 26.1 points on 59.6% true shooting this season –  this season and went 3-3 without him last season.

They beat Golden State on the strength of big man Nikola Vucevic’s career-high 43 points.

Vucevic said that the game was a result of playing a style that fits his game. It will be on Donovan to ensure that continues when he gets DeRozan back in the lineup, especially amid uncertainty around his future.

What to do With DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan had an NSFW response to reports that he could seek a trade if things don’t work as planned for the Bulls this season as their current trajectory would suggest. But, given his play and impact on the franchise, it has been floated that DeRozan could get another contract in Chicago.

“For whatever it’s worth I predict DeMar DeRozan has another Bulls contract beyond this one,” Johnson wrote in June on the ‘Bulls Talk Podcast’. “I just am told he’s incredibly happy here, we’ll see how that plays out.”

DeRozan has addressed reported chemistry issues with Zach LaVine optimistically.

Johnson has recently updated his stance to note that DeRozan is, in his estimation, the Bulls’ most valuable trade asset. Even over LaVine whose injury history and $215 million salary could turn plenty of teams off were he made available.

That more than anything may determine which direction the Bulls go as they try to get a better idea of who they are and what they want to be.