Tuesday, July 2, 2024

One Team Has Already Spoken To DeMar DeRozan About New Deal

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The exit of Alex Caruso appears to have solidified the decision of Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan on what he will do in free agency. Some had held out hope he might consider a return. However, it is clear the organization is in the process of a youth movement. Josh Giddey (21) arrived in the Caruso trade. Matas Buzelis (19) became their 11th overall pick in the NBA draft. Now, Jalen Smith (25) has become their most significant free agent addition thus far. Arturas Karnisovas and the front office are committed to a new direction. It doesn’t appear to involve a legitimate push for a deep postseason run in 2024-2025.

DeRozan, who is 34 years old, can’t afford to waste any more time. He must go somewhere he has a chance to win. That is why a return is no longer likely. Two teams have already positioned themselves to make a run at him. One is the Los Angeles Clippers, having lost Paul George to Philadelphia over the weekend. The other is the Los Angeles Lakers, desperately seeking another star to pair with LeBron James before time runs out. According to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, the latter has already reached out to DeRozan about a possible deal.

The Bulls must make the best of the DeMar DeRozan situation.

A sign-and-trade is the most likely outcome at this point. Chicago will either seek a young player for their roster or they will hope to secure some draft capital. Preferably, it would be a 1st round pick. The Lakers have one in 2026. It is possible they may opt to offer two 2nd round picks, similar to the Klay Thompson sign-and-trade to Dallas this week. The key difference is that DeRozan was a better all-around player than Thompson was last season. That should generate more value in any return for the Bulls.

It sounds like the process has only begun. One can imagine the Clippers won’t let their crosstown rival get the jump on them. A bidding war between the two would benefit the Bulls. Both organizations are desperate to stay in contention in the West. DeMar DeRozan is like their last, best shot to maintain such a status before the well dries up. While Chicago may not have a ton of leverage, it should be enough to get a solid return. This may come down to how interested James is in teaming with him.

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