DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan reiterates desire to re-sign with Bulls

Veteran scorer could become an unrestricted free agent this offseason

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

MEMPHIS, Tenn. --- DeMar DeRozan is a fan of metaphors and basketball.

So while DeRozan soaked in the fact that multiple Eastern Conference teams engineered trades to try to improve their roster in advance of Thursday's 2 p.m. deadline, he also cooked up a doozy of a comparison about his potential impending free agency as the Chicago Bulls stood in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

"It's kind of like with your spouse. It's a relationship. It's like, 'What do we need to do to work on this, baby?'" DeRozan said, smiling. "'Let's figure this thing out. You want me. I want you.' The love is there."

This isn't the first time that DeRozan has expressed a desire to re-sign with the Bulls. But it's more significant given Thursday's trade deadline. If the Bulls, who also have publicly expressed a desire to re-sign their veteran leader, knew he'd be walking for nothing, it would behoove the front office to try to extract any return for him now.

"Have I ever looked unhappy? Have I ever given any type of notion that I wanted to be somewhere else? Any type of mannerisms or anything?" DeRozan said. "So all I can do is control me, the position I'm in. Anybody who knows me, whatever job I have, I'm going to give it my all---on the court, outside the court, for my teammates, the fans, to whoever appreciates."

As for the Philadelphia 76ers adding Buddy Hield, the Knicks adding Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic and teams like the Raptors making moves to continue their next roster iteration, the competitor in DeRozan flashed.

"Bring it on, whatever it is," DeRozan said. "One thing about this group, speaking for myself, is we showed last game and we showed a lot of games that we can compete and play against anybody. Sometimes the record doesn't necessarily reflect it. But it's all about coming together at the right time.

"Think I told Cob (Coby White) this one game: It's not about how you start, it's how you finish."

The Bulls were in a similar position with Nikola Vucevic last season. After not trading him by the deadline, he re-signed with the Bulls for three years and $60 million before he hit unrestricted free agency.

Extension talks earlier this season between the Bulls and DeRozan's representation showcased a wide gap. But DeRozan, who makes $28.6 million last season, certainly talked on Thursday like someone who is confident a deal will get done.

Asked about the front office's relative inactivity since making five trades in five months in 2021---management has made one since---the competitor in DeRozan flashed again.

"I don't know if it's the person I am but whatever cards you deal me, whatever you put me in front of, I always feel like there's a way," DeRozan said. "I know some days may be tougher. It may be easier to make a complaint or do what a lot of guys do in this league these days. That's their motive. That's them.

"My approach always has been I'm willing to figure it out any way possible. That's just the competitor in me. I never try to run or complain or bitch when things get hard. It's how can I figure it out? Games like last game are indicative of my confidence and the way I approach life. We showed we have fight."

Again, this sounds like someone prepared to re-sign with the Bulls. He talked about a similar dynamic in a sitdown with NBC Sports Chicago earlier in the season. And management values DeRozan extremely highly for his on-court skill and off-court leadership.

"I love DeMar," executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas said. "He's huge for this team, this city and this organization. He has been great for our young guys. He's been our closer. I think he's wonderful for this team. Hopefully when the time comes, we have a chance to keep him."

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