DeMar DeRozan is one of the hottest players in the NBA, averaging 26.9 points for the red hot Chicago Bulls. The marriage between DeRozan and Chicago became official when the Lakers passed on him. The Lakers reportedly had serious interest, but Russell Westbrook came to town, and DeRozan ultimately signed a three-year $85 million deal with the Bulls back in August.
DeRozan recently opened up about his free-agent experience and how coming to Chicago happened. He had initially thought signing with the Lakers was a done deal, then Westbrook was made available by the Wizards.
“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and that we were going to figure it out. I was going to come home,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports.
Things have worked out for DeRozan as the Bulls sit among the top teams in the Eastern Conference; meanwhile, the Lakers are struggling. The team is 8-7, and Russ is averaging over five turnovers per game. So does DeRozan think LA should’ve chosen him over Westbrook? Not exactly.
“Nah, Russ is a Hall of Fame player,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports. “It’s hard to turn down that caliber of player. I can’t speak for the Lakers, but they went with what they felt was best for them. And all due respect to them.”
DeRozan has been tearing up the court with Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball, especially in the clutch. DeRozan is currently leading all scorers in the 4th quarter with 103 total points. LaVine is seventh with 76. Most importantly, the Bulls are winning. They are 10-4 and sitting 7th in the most recent ESPN power rankings. The Lakers are 11th. However, those rankings came before the Bulls dismantled LA on their home court 121-103 on Monday… DeRozan had 38 points. After the game, when looking back on his discussions with LA, he didn’t seem to have any regrets.
“No hard feelings. No animosity, but I just look at it as part of the game. A deal is never done until it’s done. I learned that. It just didn’t work out. I’m just happy I’m in Chicago.”
After being reported as one of the worst signings in the NBA, literally voted the worst by league executives, and Bleacher Report, DeRozan is outplaying Westbrook while earning his way to a fifth All-Star game. He has officially left the doubt behind.
“To be honest with you, I don’t ever tell anybody this but I just try to be an inspiration for people that’s told they can’t do something or that they’re not good anymore,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports. “Never let a narrative deter your confidence or your belief in yourself to fall victim to somebody else’s narrative. Just keep working, trust your work ethic, trust timing, and keep hope and faith in yourself and everything will work out. That’s just how I approach everything in life. Just keep going, keep pushing and don’t feed anything into the negative stuff people say or write. Keep going.”
It’s safe to say Bulls fans are happy DeRozan is here. Let’s hope the hot streak continues.