Bulls spend big to land veteran forward DeRozan
The Bulls weren't finished with bold moves.
They have agreed to a deal with veteran forward DeMar DeRozan, according to multiple sources. DeRozan will get a three-year, $85 million deal to join the Bulls in a sign-and-trade, with Thad Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a first-round pick and a second-round pick headed to San Antonio. The first-rounder will not be conveyed until 2025 at the earliest.
DeRozan gives the Bulls something they've sorely needed, a top-level player with winning experience. Two of the Bulls' cornerstones, Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball, have never been to the NBA playoffs or even played for a team that finished with a winning record. The addition of DeRozan might turn out to be the best thing that's happened to LaVine's NBA career, which has so far been nothing but bad teams.
DeRozan left Toronto before it won the 2019 NBA title, but he was part of several 50-win teams and advanced as far as the Eastern Conference finals with the Raptors.
DeRozan turns 32 later this week, so his best years are in the past, but he has averaged 20 points per game for eighth straight seasons. Last year for the Spurs, he averaged 21.6 points and a career-high 6.9 assists.
Maybe he won't have the same impact Chris Paul made with Phoenix this past season, but in order to take a meaningful step forward, the Bulls needed someone with playoff experience to be a mentor for the younger guys.
DeRozan might have preferred to go to a team with a better chance of contending for a championship this year. But besides getting a huge contract from the Bulls, he has a history with Bulls general manager Marc Eversley, who worked in Toronto when DeRozan's career began.
Shortly after the news broke, Nikola Vucevic sent a couple of celebratory tweets, including a photo of he and DeRozan playing together at USC. The 2008-09 USC Trojans featured not only DeRozan and Vucevic, but ex-Bull Taj Gibson and was coached by Tim Floyd.
"Bulls Nation are you excited or what? Let's get it," Vucevic said in the tweet.
What's interesting about this trade is it doesn't involve Lauri Markkanen. So the Bulls still have another trade piece available, unless they decide to keep Markkanen, which seems unlikely.
At the moment, the Bulls appear to have a staring lineup of Ball, LaVine, DeRozan, Vucevic and Patrick Williams, with Alex Caruso, Coby White and Tory Brown Jr. the top reserves. They are still looking for a backup center.