Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Drummond, Buyout Market, Donovan

Signs continue to point toward Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan agreeing to a contract extension with the franchise in the offseason, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson (Twitter video link). This comes on the heels of both sides expressing interest in a long-term pairing earlier this week.

Johnson says if the Bulls knew DeRozan was going to walk in the offseason, they would have tried acquiring something of value from him at the deadline. Instead, Chicago stood pat, while DeRozan likened the pairing to a marriage in comments to reporters on Thursday.

While Johnson points out that DeRozan has made similar comments in the past, it’s especially potent this time given the fact they came at the deadline. The Bulls can’t afford to let him leave for nothing and Johnson doesn’t expect them to. Chicago faced a similar situation last season with Nikola Vucevic and they ultimately extended him.

Of course, this doesn’t automatically mean DeRozan is going to re-up with the Bulls. He remains on track to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason and while he’s 34 years old, he still has averaged 25.3 points per game and has two All-Star appearances since arriving in Chicago. He’s likely to have several suitors. Still, the team that makes the most sense for now to offer a multiyear, big-money extension is the Bulls.

We have more notes on the Bulls:

  • Despite drawing trade interest, Andre Drummond remained a Bull through the deadline. In recent games, head coach Billy Donovan has leaned more into dual big-man lineups, playing Drummond and Vucevic alongside one another. Drummond is enjoying that pairing, Johnson writes. “We’re trying something different and adjusting to what we want to do, not what the other team is doing,” Drummond said. “We’re a force together in the paint. We make teams have to deal with us at both ends of the court. I really like that lineup and I’m looking forward to more of it.” Drummond is averaging 9.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per night since Jan. 1 and drew a start next to Vucevic against the Timberwolves on Feb. 6.
  • The Bulls were heavily involved in last season’s buyout market, expressing interest in Russell Westbrook before eventually signing Patrick Beverley, who helped the team finish 14-9 and win a play-in game. Johnson writes that the Bulls are once again open to exploring that avenue to add talent after not making any trade acquisitions. Thaddeus Young, Danilo Gallinari, Evan Fournier and Danuel House are among the possibilities Johnson points out. Joe Harris is also available.
  • Donovan expressed that he was thankful the trade deadline was in the rear view mirror, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “‘For me, I wouldn’t necessarily use the word ‘relief,’” Donovan said. “I’ve always taken the approach, ‘This is our team.’ Now, if it changes, then you have to adjust. I think when you start speculating, you lose sight of the group that you have in front of you because those decisions are not decisions you necessarily have control over. For me, it wasn’t like the trade deadline passed, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow, what a relief this was.’” Chicago is currently 25-28 and ninth in the Eastern Conference.
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