He will turn 34 years old before the season starts and, while he has shown no signs of slowing down, another long-term investment — while possible — could prove even riskier than letting him walk out the door for nothing after the season.
But there is a potential happy medium that keeps the Bulls afloat while doing right by DeRozan.
– DeMar DeRozan
“We’ve spent the better part of two years wringing our hands over the Clippers’ lack of a backcourt playmaker…But who says that job has to go to a conventional point guard,” wrote Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report on July 16. “If Chicago wants to extract some value for DeRozan’s expiring contract before potentially losing him for nothing, this is a solid return.”
Bulls’ Return Could Fall Short
Powell, 30, averaged 17.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 39.7% from beyond the arc this past season for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The former Portland Trail Blazer and Toronto Raptor wing offers good length listed at 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. He is heading into the third year of a five-year, $90 million contract and will earn a salary of $18 million next season.
He’s also averaged just 57 appearances over the last five seasons.
Covington, 32, averaged 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and connected on 39.7% of his deep looks in 2022-23. A 6-foot-7 forward who can play anywhere 3-through-5, he is also a good perimeter defender which would still be a need for the Bulls around Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic with DeRozan gone.
Coffey, 26, took a big step back this past season averaging 3.4 points, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 boards as his role was greatly reduced and he made fewer appearances. He too offers good size at 6-foot-7 and posted a 9.0/2.9/1.8 line in 2021-22.
This trio of players would be useful.
But they are not better than DeRozan and would leave the Bulls worse off with only the hopes of cashing in on that 2028 first-rounder by which point the Clippers could be bad enough to keep it given the DeRozan and incumbent stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are all into their 30s with expiring contracts.
DeMar DeRozan is Guiding Bulls’ Next Generation
Part of DeRozan’s appeal has been his work with the Bulls’ younger players namely Patrick Williams, who worked out with the six-time All-Star in Los Angeles last summer, and Dalen Terry who joined them this summer.
DeRozan, who is from Compton, is heading into the final year of a three-year, $81.9 million contract.
He has also spoken about no longer feeling a need to play at home.
George admitted to trying to recruit DeRozan to the Clippers when the latter was a free agent in the summer of 2021 so maybe he could convince him that it’s a good idea this time now that DeRozan has a contract in hand. But this still feels like a situation where Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas sticks to his current plan.