USC Basketball: Free Agent Fate of Ex-Trojan All-Star DeMar DeRozan Already Determined?

Where will he land this summer?
Apr 19, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) dribbles the basketball.
Apr 19, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) dribbles the basketball. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Six-time All-Star former one-and-done USC Trojans swingman DeMar DeRozan could become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

But before he even gets there, it seems likely he's going to stick around the same middling franchise he's played with across the last three seasons, the Chicago Bulls, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

“In general, the belief around the league is DeRozan will ultimately re-sign with the Bulls, given the team’s continued desire to compete, his role, and Chicago’s willingness to pay him,” writes Scotto.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reports that DeRozan, 34, was offered a two-year, $80 million contract by the Bulls' front office. That could be a contract extension before he officially even reaches free agency on July 1, or it could happen afterwards.

Scotto saying that retaining the 6-foot-6 wing to reflect the Bulls' "continued desire to compete" is laughable. DeRozan is a great player, but without the proper supporting staff (the Bulls have cheaped out rather than waive perennially hurt Lonzo Balls' contract for years, and have been reticent to address their obvious needs for more frontcourt defense or three point shooting), he seems doomed to finish as a No. 9 seed for the duration of a new deal. A majority of NBA teams make the playoffs (16 of 30), and the Bulls have fallen short of that goal for the past two years running. So calling a lottery team "competitive" is pretty funny, even if that team does finish near a .500 record (below it, but near it).

DeRozan, drafted out of USC in 2009 by the Toronto Raptors, deserves better than Chicago is willing to give him, in terms of teammates and a legitimate chance to win a title. Unfortunately, he may not find another club willing to offer him a deal in the range of this reported Bulls contract.

A non-defender, DeRozan remains a unique offense talent who's still surprisingly durable even in his NBA dotage. This past season, DeRozan averaged 24 points on .480/.333/.853 shooting splits, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.6 blocks across 79 contests, averaging an insane 37.8 minutes per. He also finished second in Clutch Player of the Year honors, behind only Golden State Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry. Neither player's team made the actual playoffs.

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Alex Kirschenbaum

ALEX KIRSCHENBAUM

Tell Alex, were you in the joint the night Wilt scored 100 points? Or when the Celtics won titles back-to-back and didn't give nobody no kind of slack?