DeMar DeRozan gave his introductory press conference as a member of the Chicago Bulls on Friday. He spoke directly following Lonzo Ball’s press conference. In his answers, DeRozan appeared determined to win with the Bulls while providing veteran leadership. Here are some highlights from the conference.
Question: What was the process like for Artūras [Karnišovas] and the front office to get you to commit to the Bulls?
DeRozan’s primary influence for joining the Bulls is the players in Chicago. It speaks to the work the front office has already done to revamp the roster.
“Obviously, the core: Vooch [Nikola Vucevic] being there, Zach [LaVine], the organization, the city. Overall, the whole team and the organization for me. Obviously, once Lonzo [Ball] signed, that made it even more appealing, and you could see what they’re working toward. It was something I want to be a part of. There wasn’t too much of a pitch they had to make after that.”
Question: What exactly excited you about the addition of Lonzo? What do you think he brings to this particular unit?
DeRozan seems amped to play with Lonzo Ball. The veteran spoke very highly of the Bulls’ new point guard in his response.
“One: I’ve been a fan of his from high school through college. Since he’s been in the league, he hasn’t really been let free to be the player I believe he is. Coming to this organization and seeing him have that opportunity for the first time in his career is something I definitely want to be a part of. The dynamic that he brings to the court on both ends is tremendous. He’s a hell of a point guard and hell of a player, and, for him, you’re definitely going to see the best out of Lonzo for this upcoming year.”
Question: Do you hear the critics who say the Bulls gave up a lot for you? Will that play into your motivations at all?
DeRozan made it clear that he is aware of what critics are saying. He also said how ready he is to prove them wrong with a group of players who have the same goal.
“I mean, since I’ve been in the league, I’ve had motivation after motivation: critics, doubters, naysayers. As a competitor, you definitely feed off it. I definitely hear it, and my whole motto for my whole career is to be the person to prove—not to prove them wrong, but to prove myself right. The way I approach the game, and the obstacles, everything I’ve been through: just leave it all out there on the table. It’s another challenge that I’m looking forward to—probably one of the biggest of my career. At the end of the day, I want to have the last laugh, and I want to do it with a group of guys who have been through similar obstacles in their careers as well.”
Question: Can you speak to your on-court fit with Lonzo, Zach, and Vooch?
DeRozan doesn’t seem concerned with his fit among the Bulls lineup. In his response, he emphasizes the desire to win is the glue that will bring everything together.
“It’s basketball. A lot of people I see criticizing and talking about fit have probably never even played basketball. Being a basketball player, you go out, play at the park, some of your best teams are [with] guys you don’t even know that you go out there and compete with. But, for me, if everyone is on the same page/mentality and want to win, it don’t matter about a fit, because it’s all going to come together how it needs to come together to make it work because—at the end of the day—the common denominator is winning.
If you have that mentality going into it, everything will figure out how it needs to figure out in the process, and that’s how chemistry is built. I never get caught up in all this stuff about this fit, this, this. At the end of the day, you bring that mentality of winning, and everything is gonna come together how it needs to come together.”
Question: What’s your relationship like with Marc Eversley? What kind of role did that play in getting you to Chicago?
“Marc played a part in drafting me to Toronto, he was one of the first guys to see me work out before I was even drafted… I knew with the relationship we had, he wasn’t gonna tell me anything just to tell me. That made it even easier.”
DeRozan seems excited about the challenge that awaits him in Chicago. Clearly, he knows this is a team that has something to prove, and he feels like he has something to prove too. It seems that DeRozen had offers to play on teams that were already contenders, but he wanted to come to the Bulls to prove himself with a team of players who have the same chip on their shoulders.
You can watch DeMar DeRozan’s full introductory press conference below.