Bulls Projected to Land ‘Replacement’ for DeMar DeRozan This Offseason

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls are expected to re-sign DeMar DeRozan, an unrestricted free agent this offseason. However, DeRozan is entering his 15th NBA season. And he has pointed to an eventual end, noting he did not want to play “25 years.”

At some point, the Bulls will have to find a suitable substitute for their next iteration.

HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto projects them to do just that in a new “aggregate mock draft.” Scotto has the Bulls selecting Cholet’s Tidjane Salaun with the No. 11 pick.

“The Chicago Bulls are expected to retain small forward DeMar DeRozan in free agency this summer, but with DeRozan turning 35 this summer, they could potentially land his eventual replacement,” Scotto wrote on June 15. “Some NBA executives who spoke with HoopsHype believe Tidjane Salaun could go as high as No. 8 overall to the Spurs, and others believe his floor is the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 12 overall.”

Salaun measured 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan at the combine in Chicago.

“Shades of Chandler Parsons,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote in his pre-draft big board evaluation of Salaun. “Young talent with the raw qualities to potentially become a versatile two-way star.”

Even if DeRozan returns, Salaun would add some much-needed size to the Bulls’ roster. They had just two players taller than 6-foot-8 on the 15-man roster last season.

Both were centers by trade, often leaving the Bulls undersized at one of the forward spots.

Bulls Could Need to Focus on Center Over DeMar DeRozan Replacement

Salaun would fill the Bulls’ need for size at forward. However, they could also need a new center. The Chicago Sun Times’ Joe Cowley reported on the expectation that Andre Drummond leaves in free agency, which could put Clingan in play.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony linked the Bulls to UConn’s Donovan Clingan a 7-foot-3, 282-pound center and two-time national champion as a potential trade up target in his May mock.

“The only way the Bulls enter the Clingan sweepstakes is if they move up, which has been discussed at the Advocate Center, according to a source,” Cowley wrote on June 15. “The problem is what do they really have to give to make that jump? What Clingan would give them, though, is an elite rim-protecting big that embraces physicality and doing the dirty work in the paint. Even if his offensive game comes along slowly, he is an instant presence on the defensive side of the floor.”

Clingan averaged 13.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks last season.

There is also some optimism that Clingan can develop into a greater perimeter threat despite minimal exposure and poor free throw shooting. But he fits the profile as an immediate option in the paint.

“Shades of Roy Hibbert,” O’Connor wrote in his pre-draft evaluation of Clingan. “Massive interior presence who projects as a post threat on offense and a paint protector on defense.”

Need could force the Bulls to zero in on a big rather than a replacement for DeRozan.

Bulls Urged to Draft Competition for Patrick Williams

Drafting Salaun to eventually replace DeRozan or trading up to select Clingan to back up Nikola Vucevic could help fill some needs for the Bulls. However, a lack of development from their current youngsters could suggest another area of need.

“If the Bulls re-sign Patrick Williams —again, a very likely scenario — it’s time to give him some real competition,” Cowley wrote. “The Torrey Craigs and Javonte Greens have been token veterans put in place to push Williams but haven’t really lit that fire under the former Florida State prospect. Cody Williams could.”

Williams was the No. 4 pick of the 2020 draft. He is averaging 9.7 points per game in his career.

Williams took a minor step back as a scorer last season while also dealing with a significant injury for the second time in his career.

The 6-foot-7 Williams has flashed his ceiling as an offensive threat. But he has admittedly lacked consistency on that end of the floor to reach his true potential. He has still provided solid perimeter defense and three-point shooting with a 41% career mark from downtown.

Adding Cody Williams could bolster the roster and inspire Patrick Williams.

“The younger brother of Thunder standout Jalen Williams brings a defensive presence,” Cowley wrote. “He could turn into a versatile wing that excels on both ends of the floor.”