DeMar DeRozan Reveals Nikola Vucevic’s Strong Lure in Joining Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan

The hope surrounding the Bulls‘ trade for Nikola Vučević last March was that Chicago could become a destination for NBA players once again.

While the signing of DeMar DeRozan in August capped a wild free-agency period for the Bulls, DeRozan’s interest in Chicago was planted soon after Vučević’s arrival.

DeRozan appeared on the Season 2 premiere of No Chill with Gilbert Arenas and shared that Vučević has been poking the four-time All-Star and his former USC teammate about a reunion for years.

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‘It Just Started Making More Sense’

NBA players talk. Often inventing their own trade scenarios and pipedreams of playing together, DeRozan touched on the influence Vučević has had on him over the years and how he began to take the Bulls as a serious landing spot in his career.

“It really came from Vučević. That was my man. For years, even when he was in Orlando, we’ve been trying to figure out, ‘we need to play together, we need to play together.’ A lot of time, it would be like BS,” DeRozan said. “But when the opportunity presented itself after he got traded to Chicago, we had a conversation late in the season like, ‘look, you’re a free agent, let’s see what we can do.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to keep that on my radar.’ As things transpired, it just started making more and more sense.”

What transpired was an influx of talent in Chicago. Lonzo Ball was secured in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans and signed former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Alex Caruso and center Tony Bradley.

It all started with Zach LaVine, who put forth an All-Star season in 2020-21 and drew the awe among many NBA superstars, but Vučević’s arrival is what made waves for many moves this offseason.

DeRozan and Vučević have known each other since playing for the Bruins in 2008. DeRozan was a starter, while Vučević was a rotational center.

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Marc Eversley Flies to LA for DeRozan

Bulls general manager Marc Eversley also played a role in convincing DeRozan to come to Chicago.

DeRozan’s agent told teams “if you’re truly interested in DeMar DeRozan, come to LA to meet him and tell him why your franchise is the best fit,” ESPN’s Marc. J. Spears reported Aug. 3.

While the Lakers and Clippers made the drive to meet with DeRozan, Eversley made the flight to Los Angeles to meet DeRozan. Eversley and DeRozan and his agent talked for two hours before likely coming to a verbal agreement. The lucrative three-year, $81.9 million also played a significant role, however, the level of interest Chicago showed likely won over DeRozan.

Oddly enough, the Bulls’ press initial release upon hiring Eversley a year ago mentioned him playing a “lead role” in drafting DeRozan No. 9 overall with the Toronto Raptors in 2009.

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