All of the talk around the Chicago Bulls’ plans for DeMar DeRozan has suggested a new contract was not only possible but likely. One game into the season, however, and things are not progressing well.
DeRozan “wants to see where this is going,” per The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania on FanDuel TV’s “Run It Back” on October 26.
“DeMar DeRozan is on an expiring contract right now,” Charania said. “He’s extension eligible. The Bulls want to bring DeMar DeRozan back, whether that’s in an extension or free agency. They’ve been talking about an extension. But I’m told the sides are apart right now on multiple fronts: years, salary, and also DeMar DeRozan wants to see where this Bulls team goes.”
The Bulls dropped the season opener, losing 124-104 to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder.
DeRozan had 20 points. But it took 20 shots for him to get there as DeRozan shot 45% from the floor including going 1-for-3 from beyond the arc. He wasn’t alone either, with Zach LaVine (16 points, 25% FG) also struggling.
Nikola Vucevic was effective, shooting 62.5% from the floor. But he finished with just 11 points on eight attempts, leaving the two-time All-Star frustrated.
“I think a lot of frustration last night with the Bulls is that it was the same mold,” Charania said. And players – led by Nikola Vucevic – I’m told they expressed that the offense is the same as last year. They thought it was going to be a different offense. They disliked what happened last night, and there were some pretty poignant remarks … last night from the players.”
Those issues were again all too familiar for this group.
“The fact that they weren’t passing the ball enough, and the fact that they feel like they need a true point guard in Chicago,” Charania explained of the players’ gripes. “And so when you think about the future of the Bulls … that’s not the way to start the year.”
DeMar DeRozan Wants to Win
DeRozan, 34, has expressed his interest in re-signing because he loves the city and the organization.
He also made it clear that a chance to win would be high on his list for his next contract.
“For me, it’s all about understanding what we could do to win, how I could win,” DeRozan said via the team on media day on October 2. “Obviously, this is a place I want to be. It’s a great place so you can take that out of the equation. It’s just working out whatever makes sense from there for both sides.”
The Bulls are 80-70 with DeRozan in the lineup over the last two seasons. He has earned back-to-back All-Star appearances while also earning All-NBA honors in 2021-22 and has missed just 12 games in the last two seasons combined.
DeMar DeRozan Makes Vow After Season-Opening Loss
With all of the frustration boiling over during and after the game, DeRozan said that he understood where Vucevic was coming from in his frustration. DeRozan also made a vow to fans following the disappointing showing.
“Got our ass kicked at home. Home opener,” DeRozan said, per Will Gottlieb of CHGO Bulls on October 26. “That’s disrespect to us and disrespect to our fans. We won’t let that happen again.”
The Bulls will next take the court at home versus the Toronto Raptors on October 27 in a rematch of last season’s opening round of the Play-In Tournament. Chicago won that meeting 109-105 before going on to lose to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the next round.
Stakes won’t be nearly as high for this meeting. But, at least for the Bulls, there could be a lot riding on getting a win.