DeMar DeRozan Predicted to Leave Bulls as ‘Take-a-Step-Back’ Trade Looms Large

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan is tracking to be one of the top free agents this offseason.

He and the Bulls share a mutual interest in continuing their relationship with a new contract. But there is no deal in place or even imminent, and Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz believes it could end up that way in the long run.

Swartz even suggests the Bulls take advantage. He points to the initial trade that sent DeRozan from the San Antonio Spurs to Chicago in 2021.

“The days of DeMar DeRozan in a Chicago Bulls uniform will quickly be coming to an end,” Swartz wrote on June 20. “Re-signing with the Bulls just to lose in the play-in tournament again shouldn’t be appealing to DeRozan, who could still find a payday with teams like the Philadelphia 76ers or Orlando Magic and have a better chance to win.

“A sign-and-trade may be the best option for both parties, though.”

DeRozan is completing a three-year, $81.9 million contract. The 34-year-old six-time All-Star averaged 24.0 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game last season. He has also become an integral part of the Bulls’ development process in recent years.

He is eligible to sign a three-year, $129.7 million contract extension until June 30. However, there is even more uncertainty around DeRozan in light of the Bulls trading Alex Caruso.

Alex Caruso Trade Adds Further Uncertainty to DeMar DeRozan’s Future With Bulls

“The question, of course, is what’s next?” NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson wrote on June 20. “League sources reiterated that the Bulls remain active on several trade fronts centered on Zach LaVine, including with the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers. Does this take-a-step-back move make DeMar DeRozan consider unrestricted free agency more strongly?

“As a standalone transaction this offseason, this move isn’t a great one at first glance.”

DeRozan vented after the Bulls’ loss to the Miami Heat in the Play-In Tournament – for the second straight season – that he was tired of “missed opportunities.” He also noted that he still wanted to come back but that he wanted to win more.

“The next time I play again will be my 16th season,” DeRozan told reporters on April 19. “You realize the window close for you personally. I ain’t trying to play 25 years or nothing like that.”

He has also spoken candidly about not writing off the possibility of playing for a team in LA.

The Clippers and Lakers have been linked to the Bulls star in rumors this offseason. But DeRozan has also said that he no longer felt playing for one of his hometown teams was necessary before he finished his career.

DeMar DeRozan Felt ‘Irrelevant’ in San Antonio

DeRozan has also been candid about appreciating his time with the Spurs. The Spurs traded him to the Bulls for Al-Farouq Aminu, Thaddeus Young, a 2022 second-round pick, and a top-10 protected first-round pick that is due in 2025.

However, DeRozan has also noted that he felt irrelevant in San Antonio.

He made six straight playoff appearances from 2013-14 through 2018-19. He has been in the playoffs just one time since.

Caruso’s trade could prove to be a pivotal point for both DeRozan and the Bulls. He could view the move as Johnson did while also seeing Caruso get a chance to compete for a second championship with the Oklahoma City Thunder.