McCollum’s massive extension makes this Bulls signing look even better

CJ McCollum, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports)
CJ McCollum, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports) /

After a surprising late-season surge, the New Orleans Pelicans appear to be in the process of pushing their chips all in and committing to their talented core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, Herb Jones, and the now recently-extended CJ McCollum. While New Orleans’ effort to contend is admirable, it’s interesting seeing how the reaction to this news is a complete 180-degree turn from what we saw when the Chicago Bulls signed DeMar DeRozan last year.

Already on the books for $69 million over the next two seasons, the Pelicans have tacked on an extra two years and $64 million to the deal. This brings McCollum’s expected career earnings up to a whopping $281 million by the time this contract expires.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to break the news of McCollum’s hefty contract extension.

After seeing the positive reception to CJ McCollum’s extension, critics of the Chicago Bulls’ decision to sign DeMar DeRozan look even more foolish.

After trading a haul for McCollum that included Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, a first-round pick, and a pair of second-round picks, it’s understandable why New Orleans would want to protect their investment.

At first glance, this definitely looks like a lot of money to be expending so far in advance for a player that has never fulfilled true star potential. But in a modern NBA where increasingly large contracts are dolled out each and every summer, it appears fans are finally starting to accept the normality of it all. So far, I’ve witnessed almost a unanimously positive reaction to this news online.

Tipico Sportsbook ran a poll in response to this news, with an astounding 58% of the vote describing this contract as the “perfect” price to pay for McCollum’s services. Not that I think this is a terrible decision in its own right, but this reaction still feels incredibly odd juxtaposed to the pessimism surrounding Chicago’s signing of DeMar DeRozan.

This is especially poignant when you consider the fact that DeRozan signed a smaller contract than McCollum, is a better player than McCollum, and will be the same age as McCollum when their contracts end. Then of course you have to consider the fact that one of these players is a guard who has never graced an All-Star game in his career, and the other is a multi-time All-NBA talent

There are simply levels to this. Even if many didn’t believe the sign-and-trade for DeRozan was a good idea at the time, almost every critic has been forced to change their tune now. Like DeRozan, McCollum may very well end up being an excellent addition that helps push the Pelicans into a position as a true contender.

Still, I can’t help but smile thinking back to how the Bulls made out like bandits during last year’s offseason. Considering the fact that Chicago secured DeRozan on what looks like one of the best value contracts in the NBA, stole Lonzo Ball away from New Orleans for practically nothing, and signed Alex Caruso for the pennies on the dollar all while the Lakers regretted their decisions, the Bulls’ front office must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Now that we can look back on these decisions with clear hindsight, it’s easy to see just how competent this front office truly is. Now that they’ve brought Zach LaVine back into the fold and acquired some veteran talent to fill this team’s biggest holes, the Chicago Bulls look to have a very promising 2022-23 campaign waiting ahead.

dark. Next. Bulls nearly hired the wrong coach in 2020