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DeMar DeRozan sign-and-traded to the Chicago Bulls in the cards

Four-time All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan remains one of the top remaining players on the NBA free agent market. At this point, it’s seemingly a foregone conclusion that he will leave the San Antonio Spurs after three seasons.

However, we have absolutely no idea where DeRozan will land. He was previously linked to both the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. After both teams made a huge number of big moves during the opening day of free agency, that now seems unlikely.

According to this note from NBA insider Marc Stein, the Chicago Bulls have emerged as a potential sign-and-trade destination for DeMar DeRozan. In his report, Stein also concludes that the Spurs have been mentioned as a suitor for Bulls restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen.

How would a DeMar DeRozan trade to the Chicago Bulls work?

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
May 5, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan (10) keeps the ball away from Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (23) during the first quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Currently boasting less than $6 million in cap space after acquiring Lonzo Ball in a sign-and-trade while inking Alex Caruso, the finances wouldn’t seem to make sense for Chicago here.

However, the current NBA collective bargaining agreement enables teams in the Bulls’ situation to utilize the sign-and-trade provision to work around the salary cap.

Let’s say Markkanen inks a $20 million per-year contract with Chicago. He could then be flipped in a sign-and-trade to the Spurs for DeMar DeRozan. Of course, that’s dependent on DeRozan taking $25 million or less annually on his deal.

As for a potential fit, this almost makes too much sense for Chicago. As noted above, it added Ball to the mix. Bringing in DeRozan would give the Bulls two elite-level All-Star wings to go with Zach LaVine. Fellow All-Star Nikola Vucevic would then be able to dominate in the low-post. With DeRozan aboard, the Bulls became a legit Eastern Conference title contender.

As for San Antonio, it’s becoming clear that the team is not interested in a full-scale rebuild after overpaying for two marginal free agents on Monday. Markkanen would be a great addition, both short-term and long-term.