DeMar DeRozan: The NBA Player to Keep an Eye On
The NBA trade market is abuzz with speculation about high-profile players like James Harden and Damian Lillard. While these two stars dominate the headlines, there is another player flying under the radar who could have a significant impact on the trade landscape – DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls.
DeRozan’s Impending Free Agency
DeMar DeRozan, at 34 years old, is still at the top of his game. Last season, he averaged an impressive 24.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. However, his contract is set for expiration at the end of this season, with a hefty $28.6 million price tag for the following year.
The Bulls have the option to explore a contract extension with DeRozan. If he agrees to a substantial pay cut, similar to what Nikola Vucevic did, Chicago could retain him. However, if DeRozan seeks a raise, it may be in the Bulls’ best interest to consider trading him while they still can.
According to one league executive interviewed by Heavy Sports, if the Bulls find themselves hovering around a .500 record by December, and DeRozan demands a higher salary, trade discussions are likely to begin.
Potential Impact on the James Harden Situation
While the Bulls may not have a direct interest in acquiring James Harden, DeMar DeRozan could be the key to resolving the ongoing situation between Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls could potentially send DeRozan to Philadelphia, providing the Sixers with a star-caliber player who could complement Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid.
If the Bulls decide to keep Harden for another season, they could remain competitive while waiting for the return of Lonzo Ball from injury. Alternatively, Chicago could explore a three-team trade involving the Los Angeles Clippers, receiving valuable role players in return.
According to the same league executive, DeRozan may not be content with accepting a lower salary, and he could be seeking a move to a championship contender. Los Angeles, his hometown, and the place where he attended college at USC, would be an enticing destination for him.
The Miami Heat’s Interest
Another team that could potentially be in the mix for DeRozan is the Miami Heat. Even if they manage to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers, the Heat may continue to look for more additions to strengthen their roster further.
While it remains unclear if the Heat possess enough assets and young players to orchestrate trades for both Lillard and DeRozan, reports suggest that they are willing to give it a try. Miami, known for playing hardball in trade negotiations, could potentially offer players like Jaime Jaquez and Kyle Lowry, along with future draft picks, as part of a package for DeRozan.
With the Blazers and Bulls potentially selling their stars at a relatively low value, the Heat could capitalize on these opportunities by acquiring DeRozan on an expiring contract and strengthening their chances at a championship run.
It will be interesting to see how the DeRozan situation unfolds. The Bulls have been conservative in their approach but may need to make changes to remain competitive. Whether DeRozan stays with the Bulls, finds his way to a contender like the Sixers or the Heat, or becomes a part of a complex multi-team trade, his decision will undoubtedly impact the NBA trade landscape.
About the Author: Sean Deveney is a veteran sports reporter covering the NBA and NFL for Heavy.com. With more than two decades of experience and contributions to numerous publications, Deveney has established himself as one of the leading authorities in basketball reporting.