DeMar DeRozan Issues Telling Demand to Bulls Ahead of Critical Offseason

Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 and Ayo Dosunmu #12 of the Chicago Bulls.

What was once a friendly invitation has now become a mandatory summer exercise.

“Anyone under 24 [years old],” Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan said when asked which teammates would be training with him this summer during his exit interview via the team’s official YouTube channel on April 15. “Anybody under 24, it’s mandatory.”

DeRozan famously brought teammate Patrick Williams out to Los Angeles for a “summer from hell” meant to teach the youngster the importance of having a routine. Despite a mediocre third season that was built up – likely to unsustainable levels – Williams did show progress and the ability to adjust that he previously had not while continuing to tease with his notable skill set.

The former fourth-overall pick just turned 21 years old before this season and, after missing all but 17 games in 2022, he appeared in all 82 contests this season.

He’s still young enough to qualify for DeRozan’s next mini-camp and will have some company.

Williams averaged a career-best 10.2 points while knocking down 41.5% of his career-high 3.4 threes per game, adding 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists for good measure.

If there is a concern, it’s that his game did not grow much from the start of the season until the end, though he did become more assertive in his decisions, a much-need development. Still, there is a school of thought that it is in fact DeRozan standing in Williams’ way.

DeRozan is heading into the final year of his contract and his age-33 season. Despite the possibility the Bulls could move him following a disappointing campaign for the team, he doesn’t sound like he’s planning on moving on and there had been murmurs of a possible extension.

While Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Artruas Karnisovas said he will look to change the team’s shooting profile, he also listed personnel second on areas he would examine behind shot creation. And DeRozan acknowledged that he will look to take even more threes next season.

The Bulls ranked 30th in three-point takes and makes, underlying their 16th-ranked efficiency.

Ayo Dosunmu And Dalen Terry Need a ‘Summer From Hell’

Perhaps the two young Bulls most in need of DeRozan’s brand of tutelage – which notoriously included 5 a.m. wake-ups, much to Williams’ chagrin – are former second-round pick Ayo Dosunmu and 2022 NBA Draft 18th-overall pick Dalen Terry.

Dosunmu, 23, opened the season as the starting point guard but lost the role to veteran Alex Caruso. He would get it back before the All-Star break with injuries playing a part but was sent back to the bench with the arrival of Patrick Beverley after the break. Dosunu will be a restricted free agent this summer. The Bulls could find themselves having to choose between his services and another player whose leap this season could make him indispensable for the limited Bulls.

His 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists nearly mirror his production as a rookie.

Terry, 20, never got a chance to show what he could do with head coach Billy Donovan citing the need for the game to slow down before Terry could contribute meaningful minutes leading to some time in the G League with the Windy City Bulls. He averaged 12.8 points while shooting 39.3% from three adding 6.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.3 steals in the G League Showcase Cup.

He saw just 214 minutes across 38 games with the Bulls this season.

The 6-foot-7, energetic Terry is the first top-20 since Zhaire Smith of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018 to see fewer than 215 minutes as a rookie and just the second rookie to fail to reach that threshold since 2007, per Stathead.

Coby White Might Not Be Around

If there was one youngster who has done just fine for themselves, it is Coby White, though the fourth-year guard did work with DeRozan’s trainer, Johnny “Dribble2Much’ Stephene this past offseason.

It led to the most well-rounded showing of the 23-year-old’s career despite his counting stats taking a hit overall.

White posted career lows with 9.7 points and 2.7 rebounds. But his improved handle and decision-making saw him earn more of a role in closing minutes and even has him poised the fight for the starting point guard’s role once again, a role he had previously been unable to lock down.

The former seventh-overall pick (2019) will also be a restricted free agent this offseason and has his sights set on a greater role.

“It’s new for me,” White said of his restricted free agency. “I hope it works out for the best. I love Chicago, love my teammates, I love the front office. So I would like to be back but a lot of that’s out of my control. It’s a business at the end of the day, and I understand decisions have to be made. So, if I’m back, great. But if I’m not, you gotta live with it.

“Obviously [starting]’s my goal. So I think it definitely could be a conversation and figure things out from there. But obviously, that’s still my goal, and that hasn’t changed.”

After the Bulls watched former top prospects go from busts with them to breakouts elsewhere over the last few years, White may have more leverage than it would seem given how things have gone up to this point. The Bulls do hold the right to match any offer sheet the 6-foot-4 shooter (37.2% on 4.6 3PA) might sign.