Wednesday, May 15, 2024

DeMar DeRozan Reveals Desired Landing Spot In Free Agency

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On FanDuel’s NBA show Run it Back this morning, Lou Williams hosted Chicago’s newest free agent, DeMar DeRozan. The elephant in the room with the six-time All-Star is which jersey he’ll be wearing at the start of the 2024-25 season, knowing he’s expressed a career-long goal of championship contention and has yet to accomplish it. Chicago has missed the playoffs in two of his three seasons with the club and has failed to reach the postseason back-to-back years following their second consecutive Play-In Tournament loss. DeRozan hasn’t made it beyond the first round of the NBA playoffs since the 2017-18 season and has only made one Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2015-16. Where does the 15-year veteran forward want to play next season, and do the Bulls have a chance at an extension?

“Taking Care of Unfinished Business”

Immediately following the Bulls 2024 Play-In Tournament loss, which officially eliminated them from playoff contention, several reports surfaced that the team and DeRozan had mutual interest in an extension for their leading scorer over the last three seasons since his arrival. His answer seems to have not changed since, and his long-term goals still lie within the United Center.

Celebrating a career resurgence with the Bulls, it’s no surprise that he’s enjoyed his time with the team despite the lack of success. Two All-Star nods, one All-NBA honor, two Clutch Player of the Year nominations, several game-winners, and his career-high playoff scoring outing, a 41-point outburst in 2022 in their lone win against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Welcomed Back With Open Arms

A fan favorite, DeRozan would be a sight for sore eyes if he were back in 2024-25. Originally on one of the team-friendliest deals leaguewide, he’ll surely be more expensive this time. In the last three seasons, he was only paid an average of $28 million annually, whereas this time around, Chicago Tribune’s Julia Poe says that number will rise significantly.

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Chicago Tribune’s Julia Poe

This is an understandable reaction from the 34-year-old veteran and one that’ll reroute the direction of the Bulls franchise for the foreseeable future. Letting him walk without any return would sting, especially considering there were several suitors at the trade deadline a few months ago that would have forked up draft stock or young talent at the minimum in exchange for his services in the postseason. Instead, Chicago stood pat for a third consecutive trade deadline and finished below .500 for the second straight season and the seventh time in eight years.

Should Chicago move on from the DeRozan and LaVine pairing, or will just one be hitting the road? Is Coby White ready to take the reigns of a new-look Bulls team that can bolster their future with him, the 11th overall pick, and a healthy Lonzo Ball? The DeRozan decision will determine where the Bulls are headed in the next five years.

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