The full details are now out on DeMar DeRozan’s deal with the Bulls, and although it escalates to the point of mild discomfort by year three, at least the total is less than initially reported.
DeMar DeRozan’s contract with Chicago (via S&T from San Antonio) came in slightly lower than initially reported:
All years fully guaranteed. No bonuses and no options.@spotrac
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) August 13, 2021
So that’s $3 million less than the originally-reported three-year, fully-guaranteed, $85 million deal. It’s still going to be a deal that many will see as above-market, but that’s a touch more flexibility than we thought the Bulls would have going forward. For his part, DeRozan met with the media today to discuss why he signed with the Bulls and why he’s perfectly happy about it.
Meanwhile, as Eli wrote earlier this week about the deal in general, and why the Bulls could/should pay a premium to land a guy like DeRozan:
I tried to make a similar point in the past: The Bulls are not bound to this core. They may have limited future flexibility with some of the additions, and they are clearly hoping this roster can achieve great success, but I don’t think this front office would go this route without a way out. There is no untradable contract in today’s NBA. Additionally, the money is at least tied to big-name assets with a proven statistical track record. Do you think it will be impossible for the Bulls to move a $27 million expiring DeRozan deal in two years? Probably not. To be clear, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m out on these moves (I’m not), but I’ve seen a lot of worry about how the team has heavily restricted their future flexibility. Has it been tightened? Yes, but smart front offices can continue to operate around obstacles.
The Bulls need to build a foundation of success. Even if that just starts with early playoff exits, it at least can demonstrate to others around the league that the organization is possibly only one or two pieces away from true title contention. You got to start somewhere. This is at least part of the reason why the Bulls were comfortable paying a premium for a guy like DeMar DeRozan. Say what you will about his on-court deficiencies, but he is a well-respect player with his fair share of postseason experience. Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball have never sniffed the playoffs. In fact, neither has come particularly close. DeRozan is a guy who has played under the spotlight (whether that be in the actual playoffs or during a regular-season playoff hunt). Alex Caruso is another name we can add to that list. He has cracked the postseason twice in his career, and he even has a ring to show for it. But, no matter the outcome, having multiple seasons of playoff-caliber basketball under your belt can be crucial on a team looking to take the next step.