Bulls Urged to Trade Out of ‘No Win’ Situation With DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

This offseason, Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas attacked what he believes are his team’s problem areas.

But Father Time remains undefeated and might need to be considered with DeMar DeRozan.

“I mean truthfully, if I was the Bulls, I’d be trying to trade DeMar DeRozan,” said ESPN’s Tim Bontemps on “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” on July 31. “As great as he has been for them this is, I think they’re in a no-win situation here.”

DeRozan, 33, averaged 24.5 points, 5.1 assists, and 4.6 rebounds this past season, his 14th in the NBA, earning his second consecutive All-Star selection and the sixth one overall of his career. But the Bulls were 37-37 with him in the lineup last season (3-5 without) and failed to even reach the postseason.

The former Toronto Raptor and San Antonio Spur is heading into the final year of his three-year, $81.9 million contract.

He will turn 34 years old in August which is a big part of Bontemps’ issue with the idea.

DeRozan is eligible to sign an extension with the Bulls worth up to $179 million over four years which would take him through his age-38 season. But it could also leave the Bulls stuck in the same situation they have been in for the last two years.

“I don’t want to be paying DeMar $35 [to] $40 million a year into his late 30s,” Bontempts continued. “I just don’t really know what your goal is if you’re doing that, and they’re not really going anywhere as it is. They’re just in a really tough spot. I’m not sure what the right answer is – honestly, I really don’t. I would probably try to trade him.”

Bontemps noted that DeRozan’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, is also the agent for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

Goodwin recently forced a mass memo from the NBA over his handling of Lillard’s desired exit.

Bulls Bet on DeMar DeRozan

The Bulls are 80-70 with DeRozan over the last two years but have not been the same team since Lonzo Ball went down with no return date for the latter in sight. Bontemps’ fellow guest, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon chimed in, calling the Bulls “Team Purgatory”.

His on-court contributions are the obvious reason they would want to keep him around but he offers a lot more than that. DeRozan is still a valuable asset for passing knowledge to the team’s younger players and even someone like Zach LaVine who DeRozan notes is supremely talented but has not had the team success to match yet.

DeRozan has had an impact on each of Ayo Dosunmu, Dalen Terry, Coby White, and Patrick Williams.

That’s why they likely view their initial investment in DeRozan as a win despite, as the Hoop Collective crew noted, coming in with a deal far richer than the veteran was expected to land with most estimates being the taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.8 million in 2021.

Bulls on Blast

This is not the first time that the Bulls have found themselves charged with lacking a true direction after snapping their five-year playoff drought two seasons ago. Ball’s injury derailed them but many have taken them to task over the decisions since then too such as the Bulls giving Nikola Vucevic an “above market” three-year, $60 million contract.

“Nobody focused on that deal too much,” said Windhorst. “But that was one of the more like whoa deals.”

Karnisovas has defended doubling down on the trade for Vucevic with the new deal.

If they get off to a slow start this season, look for the calls for them to begin jettisoning players to grow louder. But, if their offseason additions pay off as hoped, we could see DeRozan get another contract; maybe one that keeps him on the same timeline as Vucevic.

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