Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan Joins Stephen Curry, LeBron James in Ducking New Rule

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan, left, and LeBron James of Team LeBron.

Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is heading into his 15th NBA season.

That is a lot of points scored and minutes played, and it has led to DeRozan earning a number of accolades along the way. His success over an extended period of time will grant him – and the Bulls – a luxury that will become rare around the league starting next season: resting stars.

“The NBA will allow pre-approved designated back-to-back allowances for players who are 35 years old on opening night or have career workloads of 34,000 regular-season minutes or 1,000 regular-season and playoff games combined,” wrote ESPN’s Bobby Marks, a former assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets, on September 13.

If a team feels that a star player is unable to play in back-to-back games, it must provide to the NBA written information at least one week prior explaining why.”

DeRozan, 34, is one of several star players who would qualify for this specific exception.

He joins Mike Conley, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James and Chris Paul as the star-caliber players to fall under those guidelines. But players like Kyle Lowry and Russell Westbrook also qualify for one reason or another.

Despite all the mileage on his body, DeRozan has held up quite well for the Bulls over the last two years, ranking second on the team with 76 appearances in 2021-22 and, this past season, 74 appearances. He’s also been an active mentor for the Bulls’ younger players: Dalen Terry, Coby White and Patrick Williams.

Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic both qualify under the new restrictions. But this could give head coach Billy Donovan the flexibility to sit either one of them and DeRozan together.

Bulls Want to Re-Sign DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan is heading into the final year of a three-year, $81.9 million contract. Because of his work with the younger players, his consistency on the floor and his sustained level of performance, the Bulls are eager to lock him up if possible.

Bulls general manager Marc Eversley said so in no uncertain terms, noting all that DeRozan has done for the organization.

“DeMar’s been great,” said Eversley, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic on August 21. “He’s been terrific for this group, not only on the court but off the court. He’s been a leader. I would love DeMar to be part of this program long term. … We hope Deebo’s back. He’s been an integral part of this program’s success. We hope he is here long term.”

DeRozan can sign a four-year extension worth roughly $179 million before next summer.

Bulls Potentially in Final Season With Current Core

Adding to the intrigue around DeRozan’s situation, Vucevic suggested this could be the final run for this core after what would be three seasons together. They have just one playoff victory in that span, missing the postseason entirely this past season.

“We have to do better,” Vučević said, per Yahoo Sports NBA reporter Jake Fischer on August 31. “And we know it’s kind of our last chance as this core of guys to do something.”

Vucevic re-signed on a three-year, $60 million pact while LaVine is heading into the second year of a five-year, $215 million max contract. But the former has been mired in trade rumors since at least the trade deadline and the latter’s new deal is widely viewed as tradable.

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