DeMar DeRozan has been a voice of reason since arriving in Chicago two seasons ago. Immediately cementing himself as a leader in the clubhouse and a veteran amongst a young roster, DeRozan’s taken several teammates under his wing, been the most level-headed amid rumor mills and trade speculations, and has been the most consistent player on the court. His career-revival to All-NBA status and back-to-back All-Star selections is incredible, but his leadership has been just as vital for a struggling Bulls team. What did he say when LaVine’s trade news dropped, and how does he see this roster return to winning ways?
Can’t Let The Outside Noise In
“It won’t,” DeRozan said when asked if LaVine’s rumors would become a problem, “You play in this league long enough, that’s something you’ve got to deal with. If it’s not personally, it’s with a teammate. It’s not preschool. We’re all grown men. We understand what comes with the territory. whether it’s speculation, rumors, whatever it may be. It comes with it, especially when things are not going your way. You can’t let outside things affect what goes on internally.”DeMar DeRozan via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic
Set to be top-two in points and assists this year again for the Bulls, DeRozan’s been much more than Chicago anticipated when inking the veteran before the 2021 season. With his contract expiring this year and extension terms reportedly far apart between him and the Bulls’ front office, it’ll likely be his last campaign in the Windy City.
Excitement Has Left The Building
The six-time All-Star had a concerning answer when asked if the roster needed shaking up to avoid a complete blow-up in Chicago, not sounding as excited with the group as he usually is when referring to the roster.
“Fifteen years, I’ve never had a comment on what teams shouldn’t or should do. I really come to work every single day with whatever it is that we’ve got and try to make the best out of it. I don’t even look at it or go home thinking something needs to be done. I put on the jersey. I don’t put on a suit.”DeMar DeRozan via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic
That doesn’t give the same tone as the player requiring any player on their rookie contract to join him for offseason workouts or the teammate who praised several of his younger counterparts when asked about their progressions each summer. DeRozan is widely known as one of the best teammates leaguewide, but to give such an indifferent answer when asked if the roster needed any changes is eerily strange.
As a veteran who’s been traded before, he’s well aware that with enough losing and the same core group, changes are coming. With his contract situation and LaVine’s recent news, it’s likely that if one is traded, the other will follow closely behind.
It seems that the theme of being exhausted from the constant trade talk and growing pressure to succeed has made its way throughout the building. Chicago has some serious soul-searching ahead, and DeRozan may be gone by the time they begin to do it. Tracking his responses to the rumors in the coming weeks will give an unbias and clearer view into how the locker room is responding to the outside chatter.