DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls Have Started Extension Talks

As of now, DeMar DeRozan will head into the 2024 offseason as an unrestricted free agent. But the Chicago Bulls might be looking to change that.

Arturas Karnisovas had nothing but praise for the veteran forward during Monday’s Media Day at the Advocate Center, particularly when asked how he plans to approach DeRozan’s future.

“Well, we love DeMar. [These] last years, he’s been unbelievable for us. Two-time All-Star, Second Team All-NBA. He loves Chicago. Chicago loves him back,” Karnisovas told reporters.

More specifically, Karnisovas did go on to state that contract extension conversations have opened, but that’s all the media got.

“I mean, the talks are ongoing, so I’m not going to comment on that,” Karnisovas clarified.

I’m not sure how much to read into this, to be honest. As far as I’m concerned, the expectation should have always been that the two sides would discuss an extension as training camp neared. One main reason for that is DeRozan’s production. While he may be entering his mid-30s, DeRozan has put together two of the best seasons of his career as a member of the Bulls. The fact the Bulls would be interested in keeping him around, and DeRozan’s camp would be interested in securing potentially his last lucrative long-term deal, makes sense.

Having said that, everybody has a price. Just because conversations are “ongoing” doesn’t mean they’re “progressing.” Let’s not forget that we heard similar things about the Chicago Bulls and Nikola Vucevic having extension talks during last year’s training camp. What happened? Well, Vucevic played out the full season without a new deal before signing an extension before free agency this summer.

DeRozan’s case could be different. Unlike Vucevic, he has only exceeded expectations since arriving in Chicago. There very well may be a greater sense of urgency to reach an extension to avoid any drama next summer.

At the same time, I’d be lying if I said I think this organization is ready to commit to a multi-year deal. What would make far more sense – for both parties – is to see how this season begins before coming to terms with anything. If the Bulls struggle as much as they did last year, significant roster changes may be needed. And that could be pretty hard to pull off with DeRozan, Vucevic, and LaVine all on multi-year deals for the foreseeable future.

If one thing is for sure, DeRozan seems to be pretty realistic about what extension conversations might look like. The 34-year-old sounds like he wants to be in the city, but he knows there is a lot involved in the decision-making.

“I have an agent. He deals with it, and I tell him to leave me the hell alone so I can focus on my five kids and my regular day life. I’m not kidding you, I really try not to focus on that …

Obviously, this is a place I want to be. It’s a great place, so you can take that out of the equation. It’s just working out whatever makes sense from there from both sides. And I let them handle that, and I just control what I can control,” DeRozan said.

If the sides were to come to an agreement any time soon, a two-year deal would make the most sense for the Chicago Bulls. This would at least line up DeRozan’s existing deal with Vucevic’s new contract. But would DeRozan accept that? Does he want more long-term security?

In the end, waiting to get a new deal done seems like the most reasonable solution. While you run the risk of DeRozan opting for free agency next summer even if things go well this year, that likely is a risk the front office must face. Otherwise, you might be tripling down on a core that has vastly underwhelmed.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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