Despite speculation that they would go in a different direction, the Chicago Bulls are entering the 2023-24 season with their core of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic still intact.
For DeRozan, the upcoming season will be his third with the organization. It could be his last in a Bulls uniform depending on how contract talks unfold, as he’s currently set to become a free agent in the 2024 offseason.
But according to a recent report, the Bulls have had preliminary discussions with the veteran about an extension, meaning the door is open for him to remain in Chicago.
“Meanwhile, DeRozan, 34, is entering the final season of his contract and is set to earn $28.6 million,” wrote ESPN’s Jamal Collier. “The Bulls have expressed interest in re-signing DeRozan to a long-term deal and the two sides have had preliminary talks negotiating an extension, sources told ESPN.”
The fact that the Bulls are reportedly interested in signing DeRozan to a long-term deal may raise some eyebrows given his age. At 34 years old, the six-time All-Star has more seasons behind him than he does ahead of him in the league.
However, some of his best NBA seasons have come in recent years as he has continued to age. The 2021-22 campaign — his age-32 season — was his first with the Bulls, and he earned an All-Star nod. He then earned the same honor last season during his age-33 campaign.
In total, DeRozan has averaged 26.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game since joining the Bulls while shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bulls are likely anxious to see how their DeRozan-LaVine-Vucevic trio performs in the upcoming season. In the Big 3’s first season together, Chicago went 46-36 and reached the playoffs for the first time in several years. Last season, however, the trio wasn’t able to get the Bulls to the playoffs, raising questions about the viability of the core.
DeRozan has played for three teams in his NBA career and certainly won over the hearts of many Bulls fans during his time with the organization. It would be a nice story if he finished his career with the franchise, so contract talks between the two sides will certainly be worth keeping an eye on going forward.