Bulls insider reveals controversial $80 million move ahead of pivotal offseason

Zach Lavine, Ayo Dosunmu, Demar Derozan
Zach Lavine, Ayo Dosunmu, Demar Derozan / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls were recently ousted from in the NBA play-in tournament for the second straight year and that loss has led to plenty of speculation about the team's direction going forward. Their core players: Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic, are all either injury-prone or aging. LaVine has struggled with foot injuries in recent years, including this season, when he was shut down following knee surgery.

With 3 years and $138 million remaining on his contract, the Bulls shopped him ahead of the trade deadline but there seemed to be a lack of interest from other teams. Meanwhile, DeRozan, who will turn 35 this summer, is set to become a free agent after he and the Bulls were unable to agree on a contract extension.

However, a new report suggests that he could be bought back for the 2024-25 season by signing an extension between now and June 30th. Assuming that is the case, then it calls into question Chicago's plan for getting back into title contention.

Should the Chicago Bulls re-sign DeMar DeRozan or rebuild?

Heading into next season, their best player will be coming off of foot surgery and on a contract that other teams don't want, and their second-best player is nearing his mid-thirties. Even still, bringing back DeRozan may make some sense, especially since they owe a future first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs.

That pick is top-10 protected in 2025, top-8 protected in 2026, and top-8 protected in 2027. Although the Bulls could let DeRozan walk and take their chances on LaVine and company, that would probably make them worse than this year's team, which had the 10th-best record in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, Chicago appears disinclined to tank, despite the 2025 NBA draft featuring the elite prospect Cooper Flagg as a significant draw.

If they decide to run it back, they will at least have Lonzo Ball back after he missed the last two and a half seasons, but there is no telling how effective he'd be. They'd also still have the most improved player candidate, Coby White. Still, $40 million a year for DeRozan seems like an overpay and a sign that the Bulls are willing to continue to be mediocre.