Are the Bulls becoming the NBA’s retirement home for former stars?

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

It’s an unfortunate truth, but not many players in franchise history have actually spent the entirety of their careers with the Chicago Bulls. Electrifying talents like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Derrick Rose as well as beloved fan favorites such as Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler have all shared the same fate, with the remainder of their careers being spent in other cities, wearing different jerseys, and playing for fans who could never celebrate them the way we did.

In fact, among the 41 players in NBA history to have played for at least 10 seasons and spent them all with just one franchise, only one of them played for the Chicago Bulls. That player was Tom Boerwinkle, who was drafted fourth overall in the 1968 NBA Draft and was waived in 1978 after debilitating knee issues brought his decade spent with the Bulls to an end.

That’s why when a player says they’d like for the rest of their career to be spent with the Bulls, it’s sort of a big deal for us. DeMar DeRozan did just that in a recent interview with Mark Medina, highlighting how Chicago has been the perfect culture fit for him at this stage in his career.

"“That’s a place I want to be and end my career. I want to be able to accomplish everything I’ve set out to accomplish. That’s all I can worry about and control. I have the utmost confidence in myself. I’ll let my agent and the organization deal with that side of things, to be honest man. From their standpoint, they want me to be there long-term and vice versa. We’ll see what happens from there.”"

The Bulls need to begin operating like a basketball team, not a retirement home for former NBA stars.

I do find the timing of this quote particularly interesting, considering DeRozan’s uncertain future he faces as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Chicago already bet against themselves once to sign him to a hefty multi-year contract in 2021, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was an attempt to butter the front office up in hopes they make the same decision once again in 2024.

From a logical standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense to carry on much further with DeMar at this point. He’s been an excellent leader and mentor for the Bulls and has helped make these past two seasons barely watchable for fans, but there’s only so much gas left in this tank. Will the front office look to go in a new direction next summer, or are we going to ride this thing until the wheels fall off?

If history has shown us anything, it’s that Bulls management loves to peddle big names and star power to sell tickets to fans, even if it doesn’t result in on-court success. Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol, and Rajon Rondo are just a few names the Bulls have justified based on their past accomplishments, and DeRozan could join that list soon if re-ups next summer.

These players had varying degrees of success in Chicago, but each accomplished the one thing ownership hoped they would — placating the fans and keeping the United Center fully packed 41 times a year.

As much as I’ve loved having DeRozan suit up for the Bulls, this was never a relationship that had enough legs to go all the way. We’ve just seen with Jrue Holiday that bold claims of wanting to retire with your current team aren’t necessarily enough to secure a player’s long-term future, so hopefully Chicago’s front office took note. If re-signing DeRozan is truly Chicago’s endgame next summer, they’re doomed to share the same fate as rosters of years past.

Next. DeRozan calls out Bulls fans that want a rebuild. dark