Possible DeMar DeRozan replacement to test free agency

New York Knicks v Chicago Bulls
New York Knicks v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The narrative so far this offseason is that the Chicago Bulls will bring back DeMar DeRozan. 

But the Bulls are running low on time, as the deadline for a DeRozan extension is approaching. After that, the Bulls would have to bid on him in free agency. 

It’s expected the two sides will eventually come to a deal with DeRozan getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 years/$90 million. That third year will be the sticking point, as the Bulls will probably want a team option or some incentives attached while DeRozan’s camp will want it fully guaranteed. 

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It’s a tough spot for the Bulls, as they don’t want to just lose him for nothing but committing to a 34-year-old after winning 39 games and coming short of the playoffs might be an even harder pill to swallow. 

So, what if they didn’t? 

Chicago Bulls free agency: OG Anunoby 

I wrote about OG Anunoby as a free agent the Bulls could pursue instead of DeMar DeRozan and yesterday ESPN insider Brian Windhorst suggested that Anunoby would “test the market” in free agency after not being particularly thrilled with the Knicks opening salvo in negotiations. 

The Bulls would likely have to commit to a max contract to get him to leave New York, which may be a bad idea (more on that in a second). It’s also possible the Bulls wouldn’t even have the cap space to sign him without making other moves. 

Assuming they could, a max deal for Anunoby would be troublesome. On one hand, he’s an All-Defensive player who has won a championship and is entering his prime years. 

On the other, he’s not an All-NBA talent, gets hurt a lot, and would be eating a massive portion of the Bulls’ cap space. You could also just retain Patrick Williams for cheaper and hope he gives you most of what Anunoby would.

An oft-injured player on a max deal? Sounds familiar. 

Anunoby would help the Bulls on paper, and there is an argument he’d be a better investment than the aging DeRozan, but DeRozan is more reliable and still playing at a high level. 

OG is a nice fit, but he’s high risk for that kind of investment, and the Bulls have been burned too many times before.