What the LeBron James deal means for DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls

2022 NBA All-Star Game
2022 NBA All-Star Game / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls’ offseason is at a standstill as the DeMar DeRozan saga plays out. 

It’s now obvious that the Bulls should have traded him sooner, especially if they had plans to trade Alex Caruso, which was reportedly the final straw for DeRozan. 

It’s now increasingly likely that the Bulls will lose DeRozan for nothing unless they can put together a sign-and-trade to a team he wants to go to. 

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The Bulls don't have much leverage here, but neither does DeRozan, as there may not be any teams willing to make him the type of offer the Bulls reportedly made, so he may have to take less if he wants join another team.

That list narrowed even more today when it was announced that LeBron James had signed a 2-year deal to return to the Lakers: 

The deal has a player option in the second year, so it’s really a one-year deal if LeBron wants out, but this contract will likely take the Lakers out of the running for DeRozan. 

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan: None of them are helping the Bulls 

There were rumors floating about that LeBron James was willing to take less money if it meant the Lakers were landing another star, but they weren’t able to talk any of them into LA, as Paul George chose Philly and Klay Thompson went to Dallas. 

DeRozan would have been a backup plan but not if he wants the kind of money the Bulls were offering. 

LeBron did end up taking slightly less than the max to give the Lakers a chance of staying under the second apron, but it’s not enough to still land DeMar in free agency unless he wanted to play on a minimum deal. 

This also likely rules out a sign-and-trade unless the Lakers can shed payroll, which is possible. If the Lakers were able to find a third team willing to take on a few of their contracts, and if DeRozan were willing to take less money.

There are always ways in the NBA, but the LeBron contract makes DeMar DeRozan more unlikely for the Lakers. 

The Bulls aren’t going to get much out of DeRozan at this point anyway, but a sign and trade would at least allow them to get something, even if it were just a second-round pick or two. 

Poor asset management has been one of the themes of the summer so far for the Bulls, who are now reaping the whirlwind of their decision to do nothing at the trade deadline.