DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls

Getty DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas vowed to make changes to the roster.

After two years of touting continuity – and missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, Karnisovas expanded on his previous promises to explore all of his options. But there is one piece the Bulls have supported keeping in place from the top down.

That is six-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan.

There is an expectation that is what will happen as DeRozan approaches free agency this offseason.

“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,” HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto wrote on May 13.

DeRozan, 34, has lived up to the three-year, $81.9 million contract he inked in 2021.

It was part of the sign-and-trade that brought him over from the San Antonio Spurs, a deal for which the Bulls still owe a first-round draft pick.

DeRozan has become an integral part of the Bulls’ development process with their younger players and in the community in addition to his continued exploits on the court, including finishing second in Clutch Player of the Year voting this season.

The situation seemed less certain following the end of the season.

DeMar DeRozan Candid on Bulls Future

DeRozan maintained that he wanted to remain in Chicago after the Bulls were eliminated from the Play-In Tournament. But the disappointment of the season had worn on him.

“Hate missed opportunities,” DeRozan told reporters on April 19. “I think it really hits you at the end of the season, when you look up and the last seconds run off and you know you don’t have another game. And the next time I play again will be my 16th season. You realize the window close for you personally. I ain’t trying to play 25 years or nothing like that

“I just want to have that opportunity to give everything great in you. Opportunity. Like I said, my mind, my stance on wanting to be here is still the same. But I just want to win more and more than anything, just have the opportunity to win.

“I gotta go home and see the first round of the playoffs, second round of the playoffs. It’s frustrating.”

DeRozan is eligible to sign a four-year, $179 million contract extension.

The Bulls and DeRozan’s reps held extension talks in October. But word of those conversations went cold amid reports that DeRozan rejected an offer worth $40 million annually.

DeRozan was concerned about the very things now leading to his potential return, perhaps emboldened by Karnisovas’ season-ending comments about making changes. At the top of that list will be figuring out Zach LaVine’s future.

Arturas Karnisovas Touts DeMar DeRozan’s Contributions

Karnisovas also put to bed any doubts about the Bulls’ stance on DeRozan, who could command attention on the open market.

“In terms of DeMar, he’s been great for us for three years,” Karnisovas said during his season-ending media availability. “He’s been invested in the city of Chicago and he’s been really great to our young guys. So both sides are interested in continuing, so we’ll see what happens in free agency.”

The Bulls were not DeRozan’s first choice in free agency in 2021.

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Former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers believes teams should target him.

“DeMar DeRozan continues to impress me,” Myers said during ESPN’s halftime show on April 17. “At his age, I’m just continuing to become more of a fan of him; how he carries himself.”

Myers included the Bulls in his assertion. And several teams could show interest including the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls might face a bidding war if they can’t agree on a new deal.

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