In a somewhat shocking turn of events, former San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan decided to join the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade. The Bulls were one of the most aggressive teams right since the start of free agency.
Most people expected DeRozan to sign with either the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers. Others expected him to team up in the Miami Heat with his best friend and former teammate Kyle Lowry.
Eventually, DeRozan decided to come back to the Eastern Conference and pursue an NBA Championship in the Windy City, even though he had said that his priority for the free agency was winning and not making a lot of money.
Lakers And Clippers Didn't Offer Enough Money For DeRozan
Notably, Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated reported that both the Clippers and Lakers reached out to DeRozan's camp to try and sign him but that he was unwilling to take a pay cut to join them:
"Sources around the league confirmed the Clippers’ interest in DeRozan, but there was never a clear confirmation on DeRozan accepting a pay cut to join the team. Other sources indicated that DeRozan didn’t want to take any form of a severe pay cut for either LA team, and that’s what ultimately ended up happening," read the report.
This is kind of surprising given DeRozan's recent statements. He had said that he had made enough money already and that all he wanted to do entering his 13th season in the league was to become a champion:
“It’s all about winning at this point,” DeRozan said on Shannon Sharpe's Club Shay Shay. “Going into my 13th season and seeing all these guys just competing for a championship. At this point, you got to weigh out the opportunity to winning a championship kind of more. Especially with the career I’ve had. I’ve been fortunate to make a lot of money, but at this point, the ultimate goal is to compete for a championship.”
At the end of the day, the USC product will make north of $28 million throughout the next 3 seasons with the Bulls. They may have overpaid for an aging star but at least they're good enough to make the playoffs now.