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Saying Goodbye: DeMar DeRozan is a Sacramento King

After three seasons in the Windy City, DeMar DeRozan is heading home to the West Coast to play for the Sacramento Kings. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bulls, Kings, and San Antonio Spurs are executing a three-team sign-and-trade. The Kings are getting DeRozan on a three-year $74 million deal, the Bulls are getting 2021 first-rounder Chris Duarte and Sacramento's 2025 and 2028 second-round picks, while the Spurs are getting Harrison Barnes and a right to swap a 2031 first-round pick with the Kings.

This article is less about the trade itself and more about what DeRozan meant to the Bulls and what it means for them moving forward. It is officially the end of one of the most impressive individual runs we have seen from a Chicago Bulls player since Derrick Rose and Micheal Jordan. In three seasons, DeRozan averaged 25.5 points per game, 5.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds and shot a career-high 35.2% from three-point range in the 2021-22 season. What makes this more impressive is not just the numbers, but how durable DeRozan was in his time in Chicago. As K.C. Johnson rightly pointed out on Twitter/X, DeMar played in 93% of the possible games and averaged 36.7 minutes per contest.

That first season with DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso was some of the best basketball I have ever seen the Chicago Bulls play. They climbed to No. 1 in the Eastern Conference with a record of 38-21 heading into the All-Star break and seemed poised for a deep playoff run. DeRozan was even getting some dark horse MVP buzz for his performances, especially his two game-winners on New Year's Eve against the Pacers and New Year's Day against the Washington Wizards. I remember seeing that buzzer-beater against the Pacers on TV and going bananas when he hit it, because being a Chicago sports fan, I wasn't expecting it to go in.

Unfortunately, that would be the pinnacle of DeRozan's time in Chicago, with Lonzo Ball suffering several debilitating knee injuries and the Bulls finishing that season 8-15 to fall to 6th in the East. They would get gentlemen swept by the Milwaukee Bucks, with the only win coming in DeRozan's 41-point masterclass. It's also the lone playoff win for the Bulls in the last seven years, with their last two coming in the first round in 2017 with Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade against the Isaiah Thomas Boston Celtics (and the play-in wins against the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks don't count).

While this does hurt and the return for someone who has given his all for the city of Chicago was truly pitiful, this was the right move all the way, for both the Bulls and DeRozan. Trading away Alex Caruso for Josh Giddey signaled that they were finally ready to tear the team down and begin a youth movement. There were times I was concerned that the Bulls who do what they have always done, which is half-ass a rebuild and keep talented veterans to keep people in the seats. As for DeRozan, he gets to head to a team looking to make it back to the playoffs in a stacked Western Conference, where he will get to play with De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

I wish DeMar the best of luck in Sacramento and hope he gets to show why he's one of the most underrated players in basketball. Thank you for everything you did for the Bulls and for reigniting a love for basketball in a city that had gone through three years of tanking and couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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