Proposed Bulls Trade Idea Lands ‘New Starting Floor General’, 3&D Big Man

DeMar DeRozan

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls are in desperate need of a starting point guard, especially if they are unwilling or unable to accommodate Patrick Beverley’s salary expectations or the combination of Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White proves less than encouraging.

Their core was largely tied into having intended starter Lonzo Ball on the floor.

With Ball out, and having admitted it may take some creativity, executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas might want to look at the Los Angeles Lakers.

“The Bulls don’t need to tear things down, but they should consider a reset of the franchise now before DeRozan hits free agency next year,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on June 1. “After a disappointing playoff showing, Chicago should be able to acquire Russell as a reasonable contract number to be their new starting floor general.”

Bulls get:

D’Angelo Russell (sign-and-trade)
Mo Bamba
– 2029 1st Rd Pick

Lakers get:

DeMar DeRozan

Russell, 27, averaged 17.8 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds this past season which he split between the Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves where he said he felt “held back”. He also knocked down 39.6% of his deep looks, a big bonus for the three-point-deficient Bulls.

But the postseason proved to be too grand of a stage for Russell, even in his second Lakers stint, as he shot 31% from beyond the arc and struggled to 13.3 points per game.

Russell was at his worst in the Western Conference Finals with 6.3 points per game.

“He may have initially wanted that $25 annually, but he didn’t play up to that level,” said The Athletic’s Jovan Buha on The HoopsHype Podcast’ with Michael Scotto on June 1. “I think Russell proved he’s probably more of a $17-20 million guy.”

This is not the first time that streaky Russell was mentioned in connection with the Bulls, either, with a similar framework in the discussion.

“One rumor making the (media) rounds these days has been a Lakers/Bulls deal with a sign and trade, D’Angelo Russell for DeRozan,” wrote Sam Smith of on March 24. “There’s obviously have been no discussion…But DeRozan long has expressed a desire to finish at home…and Russell is an excellent three-point shooter and a point guard.”

Buha also speculated that Russell could very well be a sign-and-trade candidate, mentioning the Toronto Raptors as a potential landing spot, though he did note that re-signing with the Lakers was a more-likely outcome given a potential lack of suitors in his mailbag from May 31.

Bulls Could Finally Land Mo Bamba

This could be a chance for the Bulls to solve two needs with one move with their previous links in the 25-year-old Bamba. He averaged just 3.7 points in nine appearances during the regular season for L.A. after the trade deadline due to injury and one made three appearances in the playoffs.

But he is just one year removed from a breakout 10.6/8.1/1.2 campaign and could now serve as a much-needed backup plan.

“Bamba gives the team insurance in the frontcourt if Nikola Vucevic leaves in free agency,” Swartz argues. “Christie shot 41.9 percent from three as a rookie and doesn’t turn 21 until February.”

Bamba’s $10.3 million salary becomes fully guaranteed on June 29 making the deal above work.

Vucevic, 32, has said the Bulls will get priority in contract talks which have already begun. But the Bulls could take a more future-focused approach.

DeMar DeRozan Could Finally Get His Homecoming

Amid two mostly successful individual seasons in Chicago for DeMar DeRozan, the specter of his L.A. ties remains as his Chicago connections near their expiration date. DeRozan, 33, is heading into the final year of his contract and it took an over-the-top offer from the Bulls to land him in the summer of 2021.

He has operated much like a player who will be around for at least the next season and has said he no longer feels the need to finish his career playing for one of his hometown teams.

But DeRozan thought he was going to be a Laker in 2021, and L.A. made it to the Conference Finals while the Bulls failed to make the postseason entirely. At this stage of his career, those factors could weigh heavily in DeRozan’s desire to potentially move on if given the choice.

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