When DeMar DeRozan‘s deal with the Bulls first leaked, he seemed like an odd fit for a team that already had Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine in its backcourt. But DeRozan dismissed that concern during his introductory news conference in Chicago, writes Rob Schaeffer of NBC Sports Chicago.
“I mean, it’s basketball. Lot of people I see criticizing, talking about ‘fit this, fit that’ have probably never even played basketball,” DeRozan said. “For me, if everybody (is) on the same page mentality and wants to win, it don’t matter about a ‘fit,’ because it’s all gonna come together how it need to come together and make it work. Because at the end of the day the common denominator is winning.”
DeRozan brings a lot of valuable assets to the Bulls that go beyond on-court fit, Schaeffer points out. He ranked eighth in free throw attempts per game last season with 7.2, a category in which Chicago was last in the league, and his turnover rate has been better than the league average in all 12 of his NBA seasons. In addition, DeRozan believes he can serve as a veteran leader, the way Chris Paul did in Phoenix.
“With the experience of the successes, the failures, everything that I went through,” he said, “just understanding going into the season from Day 1 to the last day what it takes to really go over those humps, the tough days where stuff is going bad. When a game or two is off track, how to put things back in place, how to get guys back together.”
There’s more from Chicago:
- When the Bulls reached an agreement with Ball, that gave DeRozan more incentive to come to Chicago, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “Once Lonzo signed, that made it even more appealing,” DeRozan said. “You could see what they were working toward, and it was something I wanted to be a part of. It wasn’t too much of a pitch that they had to make after that.”
- Alex Caruso will bring defensive toughness and championship experience to the Bulls, Schaeffer adds in a separate story. The former Laker said good defensive players have to show a willingness to be physical and “a little dirty” to be successful.
- The contract for forward/center Marko Simonovic, a second-round pick in 2020, is worth $4.3MM over three years, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The first two seasons come with a full guarantee, but the final year is non-guaranteed. The Bulls used the remainder of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Simonovic, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link), who breaks down the minimum-salary deal at $925,258 for the upcoming season, $1,563,518 in 2022/23 and $1,836,096 in 2023/24.