NBA Trade: Grading the wild 3-team Spurs, Kings, and Bulls DeRozan swap

DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Chicago Bulls

The Bulls finally seem to be picking a direction, with them trading Alex Caruso for Josh Giddey, drafting Matas Buzelis, and now moving DeRozan in a sign-and-trade. The timing is interesting, with the Bulls owing the Spurs a top-10 protected first-round pick in 2025, with it also being top-8 protected in 2026 and 2027.

Going into rebuilding mode is likely a means to them keeping that pick and they are probably hoping to land projected number one overall pick Cooper Flagg in the 2025 NBA Draft with him being a potential game-changer. DeRozan clearly wasn't going to re-sign, so getting two second-round picks is at least decent, though they gave up more to acquire him from the Spurs three years ago.

They weren't going to recoup that value in a sign and trade so we'll have to adjust their grade slightly to compensate but the Bulls decision-making leading to this point is fair game. They could have traded him ahead of the trade deadline and possibly gotten more from a contender looking to make a playoff run.

That is especially true with them and DeRozan failing to come to terms on a contract extension. Moving him now is better than nothing but there is still a decent chance that the pick they are trying to keep away from the Spurs still conveys.

After all, the Detroit Pistons had the worst record in the NBA the last two seasons but ended up with the fifth pick. The Bulls could finish with the fifth-worst record in 2026 or 2027 and still possibly convey that pick. Those moves put them in this position and negatively impact their future.

Grade: C+