DeMar DeRozan reveals main reason he chose to play with Chicago Bulls

DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Chicago Bulls (Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Although he typically maintains his quiet and confident public persona, Chicago Bulls star forward DeMar DeRozan is very quickly becoming one of the most interesting media personalities among all active NBA players. His interviews, podcast appearances, and YouTube series all make for gripping content, and that’s no different here with his appearance on J.J. Redick’s The Old Man and The Three podcast, where he discusses how he thought joining the Lakers was a “done deal” last summer.

DeRozan says former Raptors teammate Kyle Lowry called him in the midst of a vacation in Mexico to inform DeMar of the Lakers’ decision to trade for Russell Westbrook instead.

Obviously, the Bulls would go on to benefit immensely thanks to LA’s poor decision-making. Not only would DeRozan carry on to have an All-NBA caliber season, but Westbrook’s hefty contract also allowed Chicago the chance to offer Alex Caruso a deal the Lakers simply couldn’t match.

The Lakers did continue on to offer DeRozan their Mid-Level Exception, which was always a huge undervaluation of his services. However, DeMar elaborates that other teams around the league were straight up offering the veteran’s minimum. “It pissed me off. I try to make it evident, especially when I play certain teams,” says DeRozan, “It’s easy to tell because I made it a personal vendetta against a handful of teams for sure.”

DeMar DeRozan’s first choice may not have been the Chicago Bulls, but he certainly doesn’t regret his decision now.

Knowing what we know now, those teams have to feel foolish in hindsight. Fortunately, DeMar doesn’t seem to hold any ill will, as he shares this story with a big smile and a few hearty laughs. DeRozan also informs Redick that the Bulls were always one of his top three potential suitors in free agency, but it wasn’t until the team took a few steps to alleviate his concerns that he was ready to commit long-term.

The fact that Chicago lacked a true starting-caliber point guard made DeMar hesitant to join the Bulls, but they quickly worked to amend that issue by signing Lonzo Ball on day one of free agency. DeRozan also explains he felt uneasy joining Chicago with Zach LaVine’s future with the team still up in the air.

“I remember having to call Zach while he was in the Olympics,” says DeMar, recalling his conversation with LaVine.

"“I’m not even going to entertain this [if you don’t re-sign], because I don’t want to go there and not play with you. My whole reason for coming there is because I want to play with you. So when once he told me that then, I think the next they signed Zo,  and I was all-in after that.”"

You can watch the full episode of The Old Man and The Three featuring DeRozan below. On top of the Lakers story, DeMar discusses several personal stories from his first year with the Chicago Bulls and is well worth a listen.

dark. Next. ESPN ranks Bulls among East's worst teams for 2022-23