Everyone has had their eyes on the Chicago Bulls during the free agency period, as they have executed deals to bring All-Star level talent to the Windy City. However, an interesting tidbit emerged regarding their recent signing of DeMar DeRozan. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reports that the Portland Trail Blazers had interest in signing DeRozan.
DeRozan garnered interest from several other teams early in free agency, such as Philadelphia, Portland, Phoenix, Golden State, Boston and New York. The Knicks quickly pivoted to splurge on Evan Fournier. For Golden State, acquiring DeRozan would have necessitated a complicated salary-matching sign-and-trade with the Spurs that would have sent out Kelly Oubre. But that framework never gained much traction, sources said.
Portland, like Golden State, would have had to rely on a sign-and-trade to make the numbers work, and while other teams hoped DeRozan might sign for the taxpayer mid-level exception, those hopes were not based in reality.
However, DeRozan never truly entertained that mid-level salary figure, sources said. The Bulls were the main franchise to actively pursue an agreement with DeRozan as free agency opened, while the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks prioritized chasing Kyle Lowry. Portland, Phoenix and Philadelphia would have needed to add DeRozan through intricate sign-and-trade scenarios, thus slowing their pursuits.
Ultimately, the Blazers weren’t fast enough to make any major changes.