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Chicago Sun Times
Chicago Sun-Times
16 Dec 2023
https://chicago.suntimes.com/authors/joe-cowley


NextImg:Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan in the dark about future ... just how he likes it

MIAMI – DeMar DeRozan isn’t shy about admitting that during the NBA season he chooses to live in a box, and a sound-proof one at that.

So all the whispers about trade possibilities or his expiring contract, well, that’s for the outside world to work through and decipher.

DeRozan’s mentality?

“This is work time,” the veteran said on Saturday. “I don’t want to hear (bleep), to be honest with you. I’ve been with my agent (Aaron Goodwin) my whole career, and him knowing me like he does, people around me know how I am when it comes down to that kind of stuff. Same thing with family stuff back home – if it isn’t an emergency or something serious, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t need to know about it.”

Not that there is a lot to currently know.

The negotiations on a new contract between the Bulls front office and DeRozan’s camp were still in play, according to a source, but definitely in a holding pattern. And while executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas is all for taking trade calls on DeRozan, he’s not actively making them.

If Karnisovas’ plan can work out like he wants it to – a big if – guard Zach LaVine will be traded, and then the front office will evaluate how the new assets the Bulls get in return for LaVine, along with DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and the rest of the squad, all work together before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

That could give the organization some further clarity on DeRozan’s future with the club.

DeRozan was well aware of his situation but wants to stay on a need-to-know basis, and he doesn’t need to know anything until a contract is ready to be signed or not.

“You don’t want that chatter to be a distraction,” DeRozan said. “I’ve always been like that even growing up. If it isn’t something life or death, I don’t need to hear about it, don’t want to hear about it. I’m always that person that if you’re working on something late at night, you don’t want to be bothered.”

But what if the organization tells DeRozan’s agent that they’re letting him walk or what if the team starts letting go of the rope and goes on a spiral downward?

Would that change the way DeRozan handles his business? Not likely.

“I understand what comes with having a rough season or rumors, and that speculation is going to come up everywhere,” DeRozan said. “It comes with this profession. Same with my contract, I’ve never demanded or stated, made accusations, ‘I want this, I need this, I deserve this.’ I just go out and play and let the chips fall where they fall. Tend to my teammates and be the best version of myself that I can be.

“Like I said, the best thing for me is to have that mentality of ‘Don’t bother me, time to go to work.’ “

Silent night

Even with Dec. 15 coming and going on Friday – the first day that many players who signed summer contracts can be traded – the talk around the Bulls remained very quiet. Not a real surprise since the entire league is quiet.

It’s just too early in the season for teams to know exactly what they are or what they need just yet.

“I have not heard anything from Arturas regarding any of our players at all,” coach Billy Donovan said. “Obviously, as you move closer to February, the trade deadline and those types of things, they’ll probably be conversations. Everything has been about how can we help this group get better, improve.”