Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers front office have been on the prowl for James Harden’s replacement ever since dealing him to the Los Angeles Clippers. According to NBA Insider Brett Siegel of Clutch Points, they may have their sights zeroed in on one target from the Chicago Bulls. They’ve made it known that they are unwilling to package a first-round pick in a potential trade but would waive that sentiment specifically for DeMar DeRozan’s services. How can Arturas Karnisovas pull this deal off, and what would Chicago’s return equate to?
Dump The Expiring DeRozan Contract
Without a doubt, DeRozan has been the best player for the Bulls since his arrival. He’ll certainly be missed, having made two All-Star appearances in three seasons and led the team to their best record in the last nine years. At age 34, with a contract that expires at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, it doesn’t make much sense for the Bulls to let him walk without any return. Striking a deal with the 76ers can secure Chicago future assets for their star forward and help propel DeRozan onto his career goal of making a championship run.
DeRozan’s showing a slight dip in production this year and missed out on the All-Star nod for the first time since joining the Bulls. With fewer points per game and a lower shooting percentage from the floor than each of his last two seasons, the 34-year-old three-time All-NBA wing is finally showing signs of his age. Chicago currently sits in the exact position they did a year ago when they missed the postseason after a Play-In Tournament loss to the Miami Heat. If this pace continues, this would mark the sixth occurrence in seven seasons that they’ve missed the postseason.
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Executing The Deal With Philadelphia
The clock is ticking on Chicago’s front office to pull the trigger on a few pieces that need to be moved. DeRozan’s expiring contract, Zach LaVine’s grossly overpriced salary for the next four years, and even squeezing value out of Andre Drummond or Alex Caruso could be potential gains for the Bulls’ future plans.
Taking the assets from the James Harden trade and flipping them for DeRozan would be a win-win for both sides. The Bulls would see a return of at least one first-round selection, although Philadelphia gained two in their trade with the Clippers, and would hopefully see the several second-round picks that also were sent Morey’s way. DeMar DeRozan in exchange for one first-round, two second-rounds, and the three salary fillers acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers would be a realistic expectation in a trade scenario.
Chicago seems to be in a position of all or nothing regarding several critical pieces on the roster. Sending DeRozan for three future draft selections is the best option. The alternative is another season falling short of postseason play, watching him depart in free agency with no return on the original investment, and being in the same position they would be if they were to trade him in the next six days.