Bulls Notes: DeRozan, White, Ball, Karnisovas

The Bulls had to finish Thursday’s loss in Houston without their leading scorer after DeMar DeRozan was ejected along with Dillon Brooks for an incident midway through the third quarter (video link), writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. After DeRozan was whistled for a Flagrant 2 for a hard foul on Jalen Green, Brooks confronted him.

DeRozan blamed Brooks for escalating the conflict, saying “it’s an issue walking up on any man from behind.” He also claimed that he was off balance and didn’t intend to foul Green as hard as he did.

“I was surprised just from the simple fact that I was trying to hedge out and just be aggressive, obviously bumped him, but if you look at it, I kind of tripped into it,” DeRozan said. “I’m not dumb. These days it’s just so hard to tell when you go back and look at a review. It wasn’t anything I was trying to do intentionally.”

KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes that DeRozan thought a foul should have been called when Green blocked his shot on the previous trip down court. Coach Billy Donovan told reporters that his players have to do a better job of not being affected by missed calls.

“We have to control ourselves and adjust to the officials,” Donovan said. “The crew that was on the game is a good crew. They’re good guys. They work extremely hard.”

There’s more on the Bulls:

  • Coby White came off the bench Thursday after missing the previous three games with a right hip injury, Cowley adds in a separate story. White has continued to serve as a vocal leader even when he hasn’t been able to play. “Because he has been on the bench, that’s helped in timeouts,” Donovan said. “He’s still stayed pretty active and pretty vocal, but I think he’s at a point and time in his career where he’s not afraid to speak up. It’s always about the team. It’s not about criticizing guys on what they should be doing. It’s more a good, positive vibe, but he’s even tried to do that while he’s been out these three games. But on the court that’s where you miss some of that, where he can talk some.”
  • Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t played since January 2022, posted a video of himself dunking twice in a row this week, tweets Julia Poe of The Chicago Tribune. The Bulls are optimistic that Ball can be ready for the start of next season if his injured left knee continues to improve, Poe adds in a full story.
  • There will be a market for DeRozan if the Bulls let him reach free agency, Johnson states in a mailbag column. DeRozan is eligible for a three-year extension worth $130MM through June 30, but Johnson suggests he might be willing to take roughly $70-74MM for two seasons, possibly with a team option for a third year.
  • There’s no reason to expect president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas or the rest of the front office to be replaced this summer, Johnson adds. He hears that management has given Karnisovas the freedom to proceed however he sees fit, even if that means a full rebuild, and says an active summer is likely upcoming.
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