Proposed Trade Moves Bulls All-Star to ‘Prioritize Future’

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls reacts to a miss.

A wise man once said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” The Chicago Bulls have done the first part, don’t sound keen on doing the second part, and may need to legitimately consider the latter two stages Kenny Rogers was referring to in “The Gambler”.

It might be time to at least gauge interest in forward DeMar DeRozan.

Sandwiching resounding back-to-back victories over the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks with losses to the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder has diminished the value of those wins in the eyes of some.

And, given DeRozan’s age, contract, and the Bulls’ depleted war chest of assets – both draft capital and desirable players or contracts – the five-time All-Star could fetch a decent return.

DeRozan to the Desert?

“If they (correctly) wanted to prioritize the future, the Bulls could trade DeRozan to a playoff team that’d absolutely love to fold an unstoppable late-game shot creator into its arsenal,” writes Michael Pina of The Ringer. “Would the Suns offer a few expiring contracts and (up to) three first-round picks, as a contender that’s trying to salvage the back end of Chris Paul’s prime?”

The issue is getting a deal that both sides would agree to, as usual.

Phoenix would surely try to come up with a package featuring disgruntled forward Jae Crowder, reserve big man Dario Saric, and veteran forward Torrey Craig hoping to entice the Bulls who are scant on draft capital.

Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas should (and likely would) counter by requesting that sharpshooting forward Cameron Johnson, 26, be included.

Bulls Get:

  • Jae Crowder
  • Cam Johnson
  • Dario Saric
  • 1st Rd Pick x2

Suns Get:

  • DeMar DeRozan

This proposal is contingent upon multiple things, not the least of which is the continued uncertainty around the Suns organization as it goes through a change in ownership. In normal circumstances, Johnson would likely be off limits in such a win-now move.

But, on top of the ownership questions, Johnson is out indefinitely as he recovers from surgery for a torn meniscus – a similar issue to what initially sidelined Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball.

The Bulls could and should try to play that card in any potential negotiations to land Johnson.

A collegiate teammate of Bulls guard Coby White, Johnson entered the league with questions about his ceiling as a talented but older player who was mostly viewed as a spot-up shooter. He has now posted defensive ratings in the 81st percentile or better in each of the last two seasons, per Cleaning The Glass.

His defensive rating this year ranks in the 96th percentile but comes after only eight games of information.

There could be some quibbling over the draft compensation.

Crowder is arguably worth more but his absent status diminishes his value some just as Saric’s injury history does. DeRozan, despite being 33 years old, is still a workhorse and even finished second on the Bulls behind Ayo Dosunmu with 76 appearances last season.

Fit is a Factor

DeRozan has been pivotal to the Bulls’ return to relevance. But this notion that their ceiling is too low to maintain the status quo is not a new idea. They have been figured as a team ripe for a major mid-season shakeup for several months.

Those calls have only been amplified as they have tried to weather the early storm of an admittedly tough schedule and some tough luck.

“The Bulls rank 27th in quantified shot making (qSM), meaning only three teams have had worse luck shooting this season. So maybe things will turn around if some shots start to fall. Also their decent defense will improve if/when opponents stop hitting 37.4 percent of their 3s. The only team that logs a higher heavy contest rate on 3s is the Heat, according to Second Spectrum. And according to DunksandThrees, no defense has faced more potent offensive groups this season.”

Their overarching question has to be just how far out of contention for a playoff spot by the time they anticipate getting Ball back which has been put around January on the optimistic end of the spectrum. As fast as they are sliding – they enter their November 28 tilt against the Utah Jazz sitting 12th in the East and with a gantlet to run over the next handful of games.

The calls for change are only going to grow louder if the Bulls can’t right the ship soon.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x