Time to Let DeMar DeRozan Walk? Chicago Needed Angel Reese, and Other Bulls Bullets

DeMar DeRozan sits on the bench for the Chicago Bulls.
DeMar DeRozan sits on the bench for the Chicago Bulls.

I fully expect the Zach LaVine rumors to go from a trickle to a downpour over the next few weeks. Whether or not that leads to anything sprouting, however, remains an enormous question mark.

If one thing is for sure, LaVine’s name will float around Philly until the organization settles on a third star. Matt wrote about the latest report that ties LaVine to the 76ers.

  • NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson made the case for keeping DeMar DeRozan in Chicago this summer. The long-time insider suggested that losing the talented veteran for nothing continues a long, problematic trend for this organization.
  • “If you’re going to tank for Cooper Flagg, the time to start doing this was a while ago,” Johnson said on the Bulls Talk Podcast. “Selling off assets a while ago. Alex Caruso, maximizing his value. Andre Drummond at the deadline, getting some second-round picks. Letting DeMar DeRozan walk for nothing continues what has bedeviled this franchise, which is why they’re in the current state that they’re in. It’s letting assets depreciate until they’re diminishing returns.”

  • Look, Johnson does great work. He always has. But I pretty strongly disagree with this point. And I say that as someone who fully vouched for the re-signing of Nikola Vucevic (which I partially regret). One huge difference between Vucevic and DeRozan is age and expense. Vucevic signed his three-year deal worth $20 million annually at the age of 32. Not only does this line the Chicago Bulls up to part ways with him by his mid-30s, but the salary isn’t that back-breaking. Vucevic is still a nightly double-double with a strong post presence. Moving his $20 million – albeit for not much in return – wouldn’t be the most difficult.
  • As for DeRozan, we’re talking about a deal that could very well sit in the $35-40 million a year range. Heck, we’ve already heard reports that he’s turned down a two-year deal worth potentially $80 million. DeRozan will be 35 years old in August. While I’ve repeatedly stressed that I believe his mid-range game will age gracefully, it simply doesn’t make sense for a sub-.500 team to put themselves in a situation where they’re paying a late-30s DeRozan $40 million. Unless DeRozan was the kind of play you could build a true contender around – as much as we love him, we can all agree he’s not that – letting him walk for nothing might very well be the best long-term decision! Why further hamper your future flexibility when you can instead keep your books clean? You’re already begging someone to take Zach LaVine’s contract off your hands, so do you really want to risk a situation where you have to do the same with DeRozan?
  • DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls
    © Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

  • I understand that bottoming out isn’t always the best way to build a competitive team. But we can sure say the same about paying an aging asset for Play-In-caliber results. Unless re-signing DeRozan comes with a handful of other drastic roster moves – including somehow acquiring another potential No. 1 option – the Chicago Bulls have to consider saying goodbye.
  • To be sure, I completely agree with Johnson’s comments about this organization repeatedly failing to maximize the return on their assets. I’d love it if they broke that trend! The problem is that DeRozan may already be caught up in the web. They went through three seasons of mediocre basketball and waited until every team across the league knew they had no winning path forward. If they wanted to get something real for DeRozan, they should have traded him at one of the past two deadlines! In fact, I feel like the case could be made that re-signing the soon-to-be 35-year-old to big money would actually continue the Chicago Bulls’ troubling trend. DeRozan’s value will only diminish the older he gets and the more the franchise keeps losing.
  • Also, I absolutely love the way CHGO’s Will Gottlieb put things on X. The Chicago Bulls wouldn’t be losing DeRozan for nothing – they could potentially put themselves in a prime position to keep a No. 10 pick in a very good 2025 draft.
  • In case you missed it amidst your Memorial Day Weekend activities, Angel Reese got absolutely decked by Alyssa Thomas during Saturday’s close loss to the Sun. Thomas was – rightfully – ejected for the incident.
  • Instead of coming at the veteran in her postgame, Angel Reese showed everyone why she’s a special talent. The rookie spoke with zero disdain for Thomas and even thanked her! More specifically, Reese insisted she doesn’t want any breaks at the next level and will always keep fighting. Pump that attitude straight through my veins!
  • Honestly, it feels like Chicago needed an athlete like Reese. We’ve been waiting for the next charismatic young superstar to show up, and I think she may very well be on her way to being a true household name in the city. Obviously, the winning has to follow on the court, but she is off to a pretty strong start with 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. The adjustment to the WNBA hasn’t been as rough as some expected, and we all know Chicago loves someone who plays with Reese’s combination of drive and physicality.
  • Can you imagine JJ Redick on that 62-win Chicago Bulls team? They may have been slightly ahead of their time by trying to grab both him and Korver in the same summer.
  • https://twitter.com/ctsbulls/status/1794560393211191417

  • Updated mock for your eyeballs …
  • 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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