The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers are interested in adding Chicago Bulls all-star small forward DeMar DeRozan in a trade.
Chicago Bulls small forward DeMar DeRozan drives to the basket after splitting between Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers. (Image: USA Today Sports)
A locker room rift that fractured the team last season has spilled over into this season. The Bulls have only five victories through the first 18 games this season. They’re in the middle of a four-game losing streak and have slipped to #13 in the Eastern Conference.
The low-scoring Bulls average only 106.7 points per game, which is third-lowest in the NBA this season.
DeRozan, 34, averages 21.5 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game this season. He also shoots 36.6% from 3-point range.
Three starters from the Bulls, DeRozan, guard Zach LaVine, and center Nikola Vucevic have been the subject of trade rumors since the season began. All signs point toward multiple trades because DeRozan and Vucevic have expiring contracts.
The latest trade rumor suggests that the Lakers would send a package, including guard DeAngelo Russell, forward Rui Hachimura, and a 2029 first-round draft pick to the Bulls in exchange for DeRozan.
LaVine, the Bulls’ leading scorer, could fetch a good haul on the open market. The Lakers, 76ers, and Miami Heat are all potential LaVine suitors.
DeRozan Almost Joined the Lakers … Twice
DeRozan spent nine seasons with the Toronto Raptors before they traded him to the San Antonio Spurs in 2018 in exchange for Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors won the NBA Championship with Leonard in the 2018-19 season, while DeRozan was exiled in San Antonio.
The Bulls acquired DeRozan in a sign-and-trade in 2021. He wishes to remain in Chicago and is seeking a contract extension, which the Bulls have been slow to negotiate.
“People have to make decisions however they see fit,” DeRozan said about the recent trade rumors. “You may agree with them, you may not. But it’s part of being in this game.”
DeRozan grew up in Los Angeles and played collegiate ball with USC. He thought he was going to fulfill a lifelong dream and play for his hometown Lakers in 2021. The Lakers wanted to add DeRozan via a sign-and-trade with the Spurs, but negotiations fell apart, and he ended up with the Bulls instead.
I thought it was a done deal,” said DeRozan. “And in my mind, that was the only option for me to go to.”
The Lakers went in another direction and acquired point guard Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, which was a disastrous move.
Prior to last season’s trade deadline, the Lakers were interested in swapping Westbrook for DeRozan. However, the Lakers’ asking price was too high, and DeRozan remained in Chicago.
Lakers Advance to Knockout Stage
The Lakers (18-8) are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference standings. They went 4-0 in group play for the In-Season Tournament, and secured a spot in the quarterfinals as the Western Conference Group A winner. The Lakers are +500 odds to win the In-Season Tournament.
The Lakers need a third playmaker who can shoulder the scoring burden if/when LeBron James and Anthony Davis miss time with injuries.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham hinted that James, who turns 39 at the end of December, would play fewer minutes to start the season to keep him fresh for the postseason. That hasn’t been the case, as James is averaging 33 minutes per game, or second-most on the team, because the Lakers have been struggling to win games.
The Lakers are a popular pick to win the championship every year. But they’re only +1700 odds to win the title.
The defending champion Denver Nuggets are the consensus favorite at +225 odds to win the Western Conference crown in back-to-back seasons. The Lakers are fourth on the board at +900 odds. They were swept by the Nuggets in the conference finals last postseason.
The Phoenix Suns (11-6) are the favorite to win the Pacific Division at +120 odds, followed by the Golden State Warriors (8-9) at +380, the Sacramento Kings (9-6) at +425, the Lakers at +550, and the LA Clippers (7-9) at +800.
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