DeMar DeRozan’s second year with the Chicago Bulls has been something of a mixed bag.
From an individual statistical perspective, while DeRozan’s 25.1 points per game is down slightly from the 27.9 he averaged last season, it is coming at a more efficient clip. In 2022 he shot 50.4 percent from the field, whereas in 2023 that number has creeped up to 51.2 percent.
Unfortunately, although DeRozan is having a pretty on brand season for himself, Chicago is struggling this year. Whereas in 2022 they were one of the top teams in the East and looked like a potential NBA playoffs force, these days they are ranked 11th and can’t seem to get anything going.
It seems like a foregone conclusion that Zach LaVine is headed elsewhere this summer, likely to one of the five teams that has expressed interest in him this year.
But what about DeRozan? Will he finally join the Lakers the way everyone expected he would two years ago, before the organization randomly pivoted to Russell Westbrook instead?
According to NBA insider Sam Smith, it’s hard to see a scenario where DeRozan finally realizes his one-time dream of landing in purple and gold.
“DeMar has been pretty open that he thought he was going to the Lakers and home as a free agent two years ago and that’s where he wanted to go,” Smith wrote.
“But he’s since said he believes in finishing what he started and has grown to like Chicago and the Bulls…I expect DeRozan to be with the Bulls next season.”
Specifically, Smith noted that DeRozan’s contract situation will also likely contribute to him remaining in Chicago going forward.
“He becomes a rental after this season, so his value isn’t quite as high and thus I expect he finishes his contract with the Bulls,” Smith wrote.
DeRozan has made it clear how he feels about the way things down with the Lakers when the team had the opportunity to add him.
It’s hard to come back from that.
Kuz is winning both on and off the court these days. https://t.co/X4B9Xa9vIi
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 7, 2023
Seeing DeRozan as a Laker, given his respect for the franchise and affinity for Kobe Bryant, would have been special.
But it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Wherever DeRozan ultimately ends up next, it likely won’t be L.A.