Chicago Bulls All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan said that a lowball contract offer prior to the 2021-22 season motivated him to perform at a high level during his first season in Chicago.
Appearing on Thursday's The Old Man and The Three podcast with former NBA guard JJ Redick (beginning at the 25-minute mark), DeRozan said it "pissed me off" when a team offered him the veteran's minimum last offseason:
DeRozan noted that he has a "personal vendetta" against a "handful" of NBA teams because of the offer and suggested that drove him to play his best when he faced those teams.
While DeRozan didn't mention which team or teams offered him the vet minimum, his best outing of the season was a 50-point performance against the Los Angeles Clippers, plus he had 40-point games against the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs.
The 33-year-old veteran added that he went by the mantra, "Revenge is best served cold," from the movie The Godfather and made that his mentality throughout the 2021-22 season.
That worked out well for DeRozan, as he averaged a career-high 27.9 points per game and was named an All-Star for the first time since the 2017-18 season when he was in his final year with the Toronto Raptors.
While DeRozan was never named an All-Star during his three-year stint with San Antonio after getting traded out of Toronto, he remained a productive player.
In 206 games for the Spurs, DeRozan averaged 21.6 points, 6.2 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 steal, while shooting 50.1 percent from the field, all of which bested his career numbers with the Raptors.
Given those stats, it is somewhat surprising that a team would try to sign DeRozan for the veteran's minimum. That offer was clearly nowhere close to getting it done, as he inked a three-year, $85 million contract with the Bulls as part of a sign-and-trade deal.
Last season was undoubtedly one of the best of DeRozan's 13-year NBA career, as he also averaged 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 76 games while shooting 50.4 percent from the floor and a career-best 35.2 percent from three.
The 6'6", 220-pound wing played a huge role in helping the Bulls go 46-36 and reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season.
Chicago dealt with some key injuries and was eliminated in the first round by the Bucks, but it is poised to be a contender in the Eastern Conference again this season.
If DeRozan can keep a chip on his shoulder and get big-time supporting contributions from Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and Co., the Bulls have a chance to be among the best teams in the East.