DeMar DeRozan Preferred the Chicago Bulls Over the Los Angeles Lakers Because He Wanted a ‘Challenge’

The Chicago Bulls acquired DeMar DeRozan in the offseason via a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs. The Toronto Raptors drafted DeRozan, and he spent the first nine seasons of his NBA career with the franchise. In the last three seasons, he’s played for the Spurs.

He now joins an upstart Bulls squad that shows plenty of promise on paper. The swingman is excited about the prospects of his new team in 2021.

The Chicago Bulls presented DeMar DeRozan with a challenge

Rumors swirled around where DeRozan would end up for the 2021 season. The Los Angeles Lakers appeared to be a prime destination for the Compton, California native.

He recently appeared on the No Chill Podcast with Gilbert Arenas to discuss free agency and joining the Bulls, among other topics. DeRozan explained why he wanted to go to Chicago.

One of the biggest selling points for the 32-year-old was the rich history of the Bulls and their fan base. “It was somewhere I knew I could just go be myself around a basketball community,” said DeRozan. The basketball culture in Chicago certainly influenced his decision.

Although the Lakers were an intriguing option, he wanted to push himself.

It was easy for me to run and say I’m going to come home and play. But, you know, they already established. They have what they have already. It’s always been big for me to go somewhere and make something happen there that’s unexpected.

DeMar DeRozan

The newest Bulls star sees this team as “underdogs,” a role that he relishes. Upon considering that, heading to Chicago was an easy decision.

Nikola Vucevic recruited DeRozan to Chicago

DeMar DeRozan is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine
DeMar DeRozan play against Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

DeRozan’s college teammate was the driving force in the Bulls being his preferred destination. Bulls center Nikola Vucevic played DeRozan at the University of Southern California.

The Orlando Magic traded the All-Star center to Chicago in the middle of the 2020 season. The two players have long discussed the possibility of playing together one day. After Vucevic joined the Bulls, he and DeRozan had a more serious conversation since DeRozan was becoming a free agent in the summer.

The former Raptor told his college teammate that he’d keep the Bulls on his radar. The more things played out, the decision “started making more and more sense,” said DeRozan.

The dream came to fruition, and the former USC Trojans are reunited in the Windy City.

DeRozan has high praise for the Bulls young core

Outside of the two seasoned veterans, the Chicago Bulls have a roster full of young talent. DeRozan spoke about the current roster and what excited him most about joining it.

Zach LaVine is entering his eighth NBA season, and has truly developed into one of the league’s brightest young stars. “I know the confidence you leave from an Olympic team,” he said about LaVine playing with Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics. The former UCLA standout averaged 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in the regular season.

The Bulls landed Lonzo Ball in a sign-and-trade agreement with the New Orleans Pelicans in the offseason. Ball is yet another contract success story written by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. DeRozan spoke highly of the young guard.

“He hasn’t fully blossomed into his potential,” said DeRozan. “His I.Q. on the court is incredible.” He thinks Ball will flourish in his new role in Chicago. His contract proves that the organization believes in him as a player, and his new teammate echoes that same sentiment.

DeMar DeRozan is ready to write the next chapter in his already impressive NBA career by leading the Chicago Bulls to the playoffs and beyond.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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