DeMar DeRozan

Bulls 2023-24 season player profiles: DeMar DeRozan

Veteran forward, who could hit unrestricted free agency in July, led NBA in minutes at age 34

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Over the coming days, NBC Sports Chicago will publish player profiles on the main rotational players for the Chicago Bulls, both reviewing their 2023-24 season and assessing what’s ahead.

First up: DeMar DeRozan.

2023-24 statistics

79 games, 37.8 minutes per game. 24 points per game, 5.3 assists per game, 4.3 rebounds per game. 48% FG, 85.3% FT on 7.7 attempts/game, 58.4% True Shooting.

Contract status

Three-year, $82 million deal expires June 30. Eligible for three-year, $129 million extension and will hit unrestricted free agency on July 1 if no deal is signed.

Season review

DeRozan outplayed his contract for the third straight season. And while he failed to make the NBA All-Star team for his first time in three seasons in Chicago, he might’ve authored his most impactful, all-around season. That’s because not only did DeRozan again prove a reliable performer on the court, his steady leadership off it helped stabilize a turbulent season. That’s not to say he didn’t experience some low points; he pointed to an incident early in the season that affected him, which NBC Sports Chicago previously reported as a heated exchange with Jevon Carter in a film session that pushed an already precarious team closer to the edge before it re-unified. The Bulls overcame a 5-14 start to finish the season 34-29 and grew closer throughout.

On the court, DeRozan led the NBA in fourth-quarter and overtime scoring, and his closing ability helped the Bulls lead the NBA in clutch victories---defined as any game within five points with 5 minutes or less. While DeRozan’s scoring dipped slightly from the previous season, his assists rose as he welcomed Coby White’s ascension as a second scoring option with Zach LaVine shelved by season-ending foot surgery. DeRozan also quietly posted the second-highest volume of 3-point attempts from his 15-year career. And while those 2.8 attempts are still modest, his 33.3 percent shooting kept defenses honest as his midrange game still flourished.

DeRozan also tied for fifth with Jimmy Butler in free-throw attempts. His pump fake and footwork remain effective as ever.

But it’s his availability, reliability and dependability which stand out to teammates and coaches. His even-keeled personality and ability to lead the NBA in minutes without complaint at age 34 set an example for younger players to follow.

A look ahead

DeRozan said multiple times throughout the season, perhaps most explicitly in this late-season interview, that he wants to re-sign with the Bulls. He opened the door a crack in the direct aftermath of the Bulls’ second straight season-ending play-in loss to the Miami Heat, saying he wants to win and showing frustration over missing the playoffs for the second straight season while acknowledging the clock is ticking on his career. But he still reiterated he’d prefer to re-sign, just that he wants to win while doing so.

Management is on record as saying it wants to re-sign DeRozan as well. But at what price? With executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas detailing he’d only be comfortable presenting a luxury tax scenario to ownership for a top-four team, the Bulls are far from that. And if they can’t trade Zach LaVine and re-sign both DeRozan and restricted free agent Patrick Williams, they project to open the season in the luxury tax.

From DeRozan’s end, he watched the Bulls proactively re-sign Nikola Vucevic before the center hit unrestricted free agency last offseason. One notable difference: While Vucevic likely still re-signed for over his market value at three years and $60 million, he took a slight pay cut to do so. After outperforming his contract for three seasons and establishing himself as the most crucial franchise piece, DeRozan will be looking for a raise from his $28.6 million deal.

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