Former Bulls Star DeMar DeRozan Breaks Silence on Decision to Join Kings

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls, Sacramento Kings

Getty DeMar DeRozan #10 of the Sacramento Kings.

DeMar DeRozan’s tenure with the Chicago Bulls ended with his trade to the Sacramento Kings, which became official on July 6. Despite the team’s admitted lack of success, DeRozan is remembered fondly by fans and media for his time in Chicago.

The feeling was mutual in DeRozan’s first public comments since the trade.

“Just the want. Just the expression of being wanted, needed to do something bigger than just me,” DeRozan told reporters on July 9. “At the end of the day, I’m all for winning. I just want to win at the highest of levels. And me being able to be a part of something a team may be missing to help them take them over that hump, that’s all I needed to see.

“That was what was expressed to me from Day 1. As a competitor, that’s all you need.”

DeRozan also shared his appreciation for the reception he received from the Kings fans and for the atmosphere at Golden 1 Center

DeRozan had shared a heartfelt message to Bulls Nation earlier in the day.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas released a statement on DeRozan’s departure.

“We thank DeMar for everything he has done for our team as a leader and mentor,” Karnisovas said via the team on July 8. “Everyone inside our building appreciated and respected DeMar’s professionalism and commitment to this organization and the city of Chicago, and we wish him the best in Sacramento.”

DeRozan remained positive about the city about the city and organization, even in his final season amid uncertainty about his future. The Bulls likewise spoke openly about wanting to bring the six-time All-Star back next season.

Insider: Bulls Wanted to Bring DeMar DeRozan Back

“I think they’ve actually made some decent moves in terms of personnel they’ve gotten to lean into this new direction,” NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson said on the “Bulls Talk Podcast” on July 7. “Two months ago, I don’t think this was their first choice. I think Zach [LaVine] trade and bringing DeMar back [was].

“DeMar worked under the impression throughout all of last season he was coming back. This has turned since the end of the season.”

DeRozan said he was tired of missed opportunities during his final postgame press conference.

The Bulls were coming off losing to the Miami Heat in the second round of the Play-In Tournament for the second straight season. But DeRozan also said he wanted to come back next season.

His contract expired amid little contact with the Bulls as they sorted through their other offseason items.

They are still trying to trade LaVine.

But they gave Patrick Williams a five-year, $90 million contract extension. Before that, they traded Alex Caruso to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Josh Giddey. Karnisovas defended the decision in a press conference after Day 1 of the 2024 draft on June 26.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley reported on July 1 that that trade was the “last straw” in DeRozan’s decision to move on.

DeMar DeRozan Well-Received in Sacramento

The Kings put forth a strong recruiting effort for DeRozan, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater on July 7.

Headlined by assistant coach Jay Triano – who was with DeRozan during the latter’s rookie season with the Toronto Raptors – and star point guard De’Aaron Fox, the Kings secured DeRozan’s commitment after he flew in for a visit in free agency.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive posted a video introducing the two new teammates.

DeRozan turned heads in the immediate aftermath of the trade, appearing at a California Classic tilt with Ranadive. The latter even shared a video on X alongside DeRozan with a strong message on the Kings.

“So I know, DeMar, that everybody wants you,” Ranadive told DeRozan on July 8. “Every city, every team, all the players. But I got one thing to tell you: they’re nothing like us!”