How DeMar DeRozan Shocked the (Basketball) World

The Trade

It was a seemingly normal morning on July 18, 2018 until the news started rolling in about the next big NBA blockbuster trade; DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl were traded to the San Antonio Spurs from the Toronto Raptors along with a protected first round pick that would turn out to be Keldon Johnson. What would the Raptors get in return? Only former finals MVP, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, and 2-time all-star Kawhi Leonard, along with Danny Green and ultimately a 2019 finals win against the Golden State Warriors. After a seemingly impressive amount of success with DeRozan, having ended with the best record in their conference, they had lost yet again to the stubborn, LeBron led Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4 game sweep. The Raptor's needed a final piece and that's what Leonard would end up being; at DeRozan's expense.DeRozan traded to Spurs

DeRozan Faces off against his replacement

San Antonio Part I

The San Antonio Spurs were far from the glory days of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. They were entering a rebuild, obviously shown by trading away Leonard. DeRozan would be a lead superstar on a young, developing team and this would be his chance to prove himself as a true solid player without the assistance of longtime teammate Kyle Lowry. DeRozan would have an extremely solid season, but we will see that this was the extent of his time in San Antonio- solid. DeRozan would see his best shooting percentage since his rookie season in his first season in San Antonio, however his 3 point shooting percentage would hit a long time low with 15%. He was never a great 3 point shooter but he had not dipped below 25% since 2011 (a rough 9%). Aside from 3 point shooting, he would end up averaging around 21/6/6- all but points being an improvement from his last season in Toronto. The Spurs themselves ended up doing surprisingly well, making the playoffs at 48-34 as the 7th seed. They would lose in the 1st round in a hard fought 7 game series against the Denver Nuggets. Overall, this would be the farthest the Spurs would ever get with DeRozan as COVID-19 would further give the Spurs, as well as the entire NBA, issues over the next 2 seasons.DeRozan Ends up In San Antonio

DeRozan's first year in San Antonio

COVID Seasons, San Antonio Part II

2019 would be the start of the downfall of the San Antonio Spurs. After making the playoffs as a lower seed the previous year, they would only regress from there. Still being a young team, DeRozan would end up leading the team in scoring that season with 22 PPG. Unfortunately, the Spurs would miss the playoffs for the first time in 22 years in a COVID-shortened season at 32-39. What seemed like a solid challenge for DeRozan quickly started to look like a waste of his last few years of his prime. The next year wouldn't go much better for San Antonio. In a shortened 72 game season following the shortest NBA offseason of all time, the Spurs would finish 33-39 and shockingly make the play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies, but would lose in another hard 100-96 loss. After his age 31 season, DeRozan was looking like he was close to leaving his prime, however this would end up being far from the truth.

DeRozan 3rd year

DeRozan's 3rd year with the Spurs

Free Agency and LA

DeRozan was not necessarily a sought after target entering free agency, with only interest from a few teams, yet it was interest nonetheless. Early on it seemed like the Los Angeles Lakers were all but certain to land DeRozan as there had been talks of him possibly ending up there as far back as November 2020, not to mention DeRozan's hometown of Compton was right next door to LA. It seemed perfect for an aging superstar to team up with LeBron and Anthony Davis while being less than 20 miles from home. Unfortunately for the Lakers, this deal fell through. DeRozan would later claim that "the business side of things just didn't work out." This would lead to what multiple executives and scouts would call "the worst move of 2021 free agency"- DeMar DeRozan would be dealt to the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal that would result in the Spurs receiving Thaddeus Young, Al Farouq-Aminu, and multiple picks. Honestly at the time it did seem like a bad trade; multiple picks and solid players for an aging DeMar DeRozan seems like it may have been overkill. Fortunately for the bulls, it was far from it.DeRozan Takeover

DeRozan begins to dominate in 2022

DeMar DeRozan Shocks the NBA

Beginning the season, the Chicago Bulls had reloaded. Bringing in Lonzo Ball on a separate sign-and-trade, signing 6th-man extraordinaire Alex Caruso, and trading for all-star big man Nikola Vucevic in the previous trade deadline, on top of existing star Zach Lavine, the Bulls were here to compete. And compete is exactly what they've done. A big factor in this resurgence of the Bulls is DeMar DeRozan himself. The 2022 all-star has had a career season at the age of 32, slashing 28/5/5 on 51% shooting and a career best 35.8% from 3. In the midst of a 9 game win streak for the Bulls, DeRozan also nailed 2 3-point buzzer beaters on consecutive days leading them to the best record in the eastern conference at the time. Right now, the Bulls sit at 39-23 in 2nd place in the eastern conference behind the Miami Heat. DeRozan has rocketed into the MVP conversation for the first time ever and it's safe to say that no one thought that DeRozan would be this good during the offseason. It's fascinating to see a career as interesting as DeRozan's develop the way it has, and as a fan, its exciting. We're witnessing the Bulls play at a level that hasn't been seen since Jimmy Butler and even Derrick Rose. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come, and DeRozan continues to play at an MVP level, and who knows? Maybe we will see a championship in the near vs. Wizards

DeRozan nails a game winning shot vs. the Wizards

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