Chicago Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan may have been closer to becoming a New York Knick than previously known.
"Turns out, according to two NBA sources, [Knicks GM Scott] Perry was leaning toward a bolder pursuit, that of San Antonio standout swingman DeMar DeRozan. He made the All-Star Game his last three seasons in Toronto before being traded to the Spurs in 2018. DeRozan, though, would have cost more per season. According to the sources, DeRozan had sincere interest in the Knicks, but instead ended up with a generous deal in Chicago – a three-year, $85 million package. The Knicks inked [Evan] Fournier for four years, $78 million (with bonuses) while retaining a team option for the final season."
The Knicks instead added Kemba Walker while re-signing Nerlens Noel, Derrick Rose and Alec Burks after a surprise playoff run in 2020.
It's easy to imagine DeRozan coexisting alongside Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson up front. Not only would he have helped improve an offense that averaged among the league's worst with 107 points per game, but the two-time All-NBA recipient would have also given the NBA's best defense another veteran presence to rely on.
However, these are the types of reports that require an extra grain of salt.
As teams gear up for the start of training camp and begin assessing what went well and what didn't over the past few months, it's not uncommon for reports to leak out showing what teams almost did.
It also doesn't mean DeRozan would've signed in New York had a deal been offered.
After averaging 21.6 points, 6.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds, DeRozan was likely to find himself with a large contract in a weaker free-agent class. The Bulls still had to part with Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a protected first-round draft pick and two second-round draft picks to complete a sign-and-trade with the Spurs.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are ready to run it back with RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Fournier and Obi Toppin likely to see larger roles.