The Chicago Bulls made one of the most surprising moves of the offseason when they acquired four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan in a sign-and-trade transaction with the San Antonio Spurs.
DeRozan, 32, signed a three-year, $82 million contract after the Bulls traded Thad Young, Al-Farouq Aminu and future first- and second-round picks to the Spurs.
DeRozan, the ninth overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Raptors, spent his first nine seasons in Toronto, which he helped lead to the 2016 Eastern Conference finals. Following the 2017-18 season, Toronto traded its face of the franchise to the Spurs in the deal that landed Kawhi Leonard.
In San Antonio, the 6-foot-6 DeRozan continued his work as a midrange sniper while playing some power-forward minutes and improving his assists average.
Here is more about DeRozan, his NBA career and his mental health advocacy.
DeMar DeRozan’s NBA stats, career-highs with Raptors and Spurs
Already a solid player, DeRozan’s game jumped in his fifth season with the Raptors. That’s when he posted his first 20-points-per-game scoring season and earned the first of his four All-Star selections.
That 2013-14 season began the first of eight straight 20-points-per-game scoring seasons for DeRozan, an accomplishment even more noteworthy because of his career 28.1 percent 3-point shooting. He’s a midrange sniper who also gets to the free-throw line often.
On Jan. 1, 2018, DeRozan scored a career-high 52 points in Toronto’s 131-127 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. On March 20, 2019, DeRozan grabbed his career-best 15 rebounds — all off the defensive glass — as the Spurs fell to the Heat 120-115. And he has posted his career-high of 14 assists twice, the last time coming earlier this year in the Spurs’ 143-140 overtime loss to the Celtics.
Over 12 NBA seasons, DeRozan has averaged 20.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 46 percent from the field.
DeMar DeRozan’s 2021 free-agency suitors
Before the Bulls blew all teams out of their water with their financial commitment, DeRozan had been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Miami Heat in free agency. The first two franchises represented an opportunity for the Compton native to return to his roots, while the latter scenario would’ve reunited him with Kyle Lowry, his former Raptors teammate.
Speaking with Stadium, DeRozan acknowledged he had conversations with LeBron James about joining the Lakers. But when he signed with the Bulls, he cited the strong direction of the franchise, the connection he felt with management and coach Billy Donovan and the selfless recruiting of Nikola Vučević and Zach LaVine.
DeRozan played with Vučević at USC under former Bulls coach Tim Floyd.
DeMar DeRozan’s mental health advocacy
In a February 2018 interview the Toronto Star, DeRozan joined a growing number of NBA players that also included Kevin Love to open up about his struggles with depression and anxiety.
In the interview, the private-leaning DeRozan acknowledged it’s not his nature to be outspoken on any subject but he hoped him peeling back the curtain on some of the struggles he faces could help others.