Proposed Blockbuster Swaps Bulls’ DeRozan for Rising Forward, 21 PPG Scorer

DeMar DeRozan Bulls-Cavs

Getty Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan looks on during a bout with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Just when you think the Chicago Bulls are getting back on track and climbing back into the playoff race, reality manages to creep back in. Or, at least, the reality that is being pushed by those who aren’t sold on the Bulls as currently constructed. And it’s getting harder and harder to argue with those people.

Despite battling valiantly in consecutive bouts with Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Windy City Crew came up short in both contests, falling back to five games below the .500 mark entering Wednesday’s battle with the red-hot Brooklyn Nets.

Not only that, concerns about Zach LaVine’s fit next to DeMar DeRozan are creeping back up. On the latest episode of the Bulls Talk podcast, NBC Sports Chicago‘s KC Johnson essentially confirmed an earlier report from The Athletic that LaVine has questioned his role on the team.

Given the apparent disharmony there — not to mentioned the club’s overall underperformance — the notion that the Bulls could split their All-Star duo isn’t outrageous at the moment. To that end, Bulls insider Rob Schaefer just broke down a trade that would accomplish just that.

Blockbuster Propsal Ends DeMar DeRozan Era in Chicago

BULLS at CAVALIERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 2, 2022Never miss a moment with the latest news, trending stories and highlights to bring you closer to your favorite players and teams. Download now: Donovan Mitchell recorded a career-high and Cleveland Cavaliers franchise record 71 points (55 points in 2nd half + overtime), along with 8 rebounds, and 11 assists for the Cavaliers as…2023-01-03T03:19:05Z

With the NBA‘s February 9 trade deadline looming, Schaefer went deep on some of the trades that armchair GMs have been proposing on social media. One such deal, which the reporter called “thought-provoking,” stacked up as follows:

  • Chicago Bulls receive F Kyle Kuzma and G Monte Morris
  • Washington Wizards receive F DeMar DeRozan

Wrote Schaefer:

This is an interesting one. The Bulls swap DeRozan for a younger, potentially high upside wing alternative and add a point guard to their Lonzo Ball-less committee. The Wizards, meanwhile, skate out from under Kuzma’s impending free agency and form a potent offensive trio of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and DeRozan.

DeRozan may be the Bulls’ leading scorer and go-to guy in the clutch, but he’s also 33 years old and coming up on the final year of his contract in 2023-24. Moreover, his reliance on mid-range offense is something that makes spacing (and even roster construction) somewhat difficult to navigate.

As such, there’s definitely a case to be made for moving him over LaVine, and Kuzma does make some sense in Chicago.

Kyle Kuzma Is Coming Into His Own

For his part, Schaefer opined that the Bulls may not be getting enough back for DeRozan here. And, a couple years ago, that definitely would have been true. That said, the 27-year-old is really hitting his stride as a big-time scorer and playmaker in the Washington Wizards frontcourt this season.

Over 38 appearances for the Wiz, Kuzma is averaging a career-high 21.3 points per game to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per outing. Meanwhile, his team has been seven points per 100 possessions better when he has been on the floor.

He may not be the bucket-getter DeRozan is, but it’s not hard to envision him and LaVine combining to give the Bulls a more open, exciting offense alongside a healthy ball and a developing Patrick Williams. And at 6-foot-9 and 220-plus pounds, Kuzma was practically built to be the starting four-man the team has lacked.

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