Could DeRozan be a trade candidate in 2023 offseason?


Amid an underwhelming 13-18 start to the 2022-23 season, reports of competing teams monitoring the Chicago Bulls as a potential trade partner have swirled for weeks on end.

The latest submission comes from Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, who on Thursday reported that “if matters (with the Bulls) don't improve this season, rival executives believe it could lead star guard DeMar DeRozan to request to be moved in the offseason.”

Let’s pause for a moment there.

Executives from other teams believe that if the Bulls do not turn their season around, it could lead DeRozan to request to be moved next summer.

While this tidbit is being interpreted by some as a signal that DeRozan, himself, has indicated he could ask out, it reads more as deductive reasoning — or even wishful thinking — by executives in the league whose job it is to constantly conduct due diligence on a variety of contingency plans for their respective franchises.

As Haynes notes, the 2023-24 season is the last of the three-year contract DeRozan signed with the Bulls in 2021, meaning he will be extension eligible beginning this offseason. And stars of the caliber DeRozan has established during his time in Chicago rarely play on expiring contracts without future assurances — especially given DeRozan will turn 34 two months before the start of next season.

Surely, if all was going according to plan, one could envision mutual interest in an extension between DeRozan and the Bulls. The team is certainly happy with DeRozan’s production, which has exceeded even the $82 million contract (with an average annual salary of $27.3 million) that was widely viewed as an overpay at the time he signed it. And, entering his mid-30s, it would make sense for DeRozan to cash in on a payday that could max out at four additional seasons and around $154 million total (based on his current salary and the NBA’s extension regulations).

But say the Bulls do not right the ship this season. In that scenario, sure, a parting of ways could make sense for both sides. As it would with just about any player on the Bulls’ roster — albeit veterans, in particular (which is why Nikola Vučević and Zach LaVine’s names are often bandied about as well).

In that hypothetical event, DeRozan could catch on with a team closer to contention and potentially extend there. And the Bulls could pivot from their current core by recouping as much value as possible for their most in-demand trade asset.

That is the deductive reasoning at play as teams around the NBA monitor the Bulls’ situation. 

It does not mean DeRozan is poised to ask out. It does not mean the Bulls, who have shown no evidence they plan to steer off their current course, are looking to move him.

It means rival executives are doing their job and pondering what comes next for one of the league’s most prominently underperforming teams this season.

Time — and the Bulls’ performance for the rest of the season — will tell whether such speculation winds up coming to fruition.

RELATED: Ranking value of Bulls' trade assets as season teeters

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