The Bulls need to push Deng to play in the Olympics

The Bulls need to push Deng to play in the Olympics

Wait what? They need to push him INTO playing? Yes. Yes they do. They need to put on a full court press about how excited they are that he's playing for Great Britain and lend him their full support. Unfortunately, they're intending the opposite.

The Bulls are intending to try and push Deng into not going to Great Britain. They'd surely like him to immediately get surgery and prepare for the next NBA season. Especially since they'll likely be missing Derrick Rose for a good chunk of it [and perhaps all of it].

However, they're being short sighted with this stance. No, I'm not suggesting that Deng's going to improve his game at the Olympics. No, I'm not suggesting that Deng's absence won't hurt Chicago next year. He'll be missed. Badly. The Bulls might even miss the playoffs because of him delaying surgery.

But you have to know what battles you can win, and what battles you can't.

Here's an old married guy trick for you newlyweds out there. When you know you're going to lose the battle in advance, when you know you have absolutely no hope of winning, don't fight it. Instead, claim all the brownie points. Say "Honey, I know this is incredibly important for you, and you should do it. Don't worry about me, I'll watch the kids that night. I got this.".

Deng is going to go play in the Olympics whether the Bulls like it or not. First, they have no power to stop him legally. Second, it's a moral absurdity to suggest that because Deng was hurt playing for the Bulls in the season and gave up the best medical practice available in order to play through pain and finish the playoffs that he should then pay for his generosity and toughness by also missing the once in a lifetime chance to pursue one of his greatest dreams.

Realizing that the Bulls really have no legal or moral leg to stand on here is the first part of this hump they need to get over. Sure they pay his salary, but if they didn't pay his salary plenty of other teams would pay his salary, and no one who gets hurt on the job waits four months to schedule their surgery in order to have it done over the week they were going to take the family to Disney world, but instead cancel so they don't miss work.

It's a ridiculous request made more ridiculous by the passing knowledge of how important this is [and why it is] so important to Luol. He literally owes Great Britain his life, and the lives of his family for GB granting his family political asylum. He's decided he can give back by building the GB basketball program, and this might be the only time GB qualifies for the Olympics in basketball and certainly the only time they'll do it while Luol can play and the Olympics are in London.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to give back in a very real way to the country he owes his life to. If the Bulls think they're talking him out of that, they're nuts. Not going to happen. Not so Deng can simply play in the first month of the regular season next year.

So instead, take the brownie points. Stress how you understand Luol has to do this. Stress how much you appreciate him delaying surgery even though it might make his Olympic performance more challenging. Stress how much you appreciate his contributions, and you're okay with him going.

When Deng comes back, he'll come back feeling like he has the full support of management. He'll come back with love for Chicago. He'll come back ready to run through a wall for the team knowing his decision hurt him. Make him feel bad doing something he knows he's going to do will just engender long term bitterness and nothing useful at all. It will make the Bulls look petty to FAs and fracture the chemistry this team is built on.

There's nothing to gain for fighting the losing battle, but there's plenty to gain from switching sides.

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  • I completely agree. The Bulls should openly support his efforts to play for London in the Olympics. If it was so important to the Bulls for him to have surgery, then the Bulls should have demanded he do it when he first hurt his wrist. Deng has a compelling story given his life circumstances and the fact that the Olympics are being held in London, making it a once in a lifetime chance. If it really is going to harm the Bulls so much for him to have surgery after the Olympics, then maybe he could play again all next year without having the surgery and wait for Summer 2013.

  • Another thing to consider is the Bulls reputation. Go ahead and make this an issue and see the kind of reaction you get from players around the league.

    The only option has always been to give Loul 100% support.

  • I agree and this reflects badly on the front office; I'll refrain from saying anything else!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    I will agree as well, but he would definitely be on the trading block if some team would be willing to trade for Deng. He's too inconsistent with his scoring, defense is fine but I believe the Bulls can get good players for Deng and other assets. Boozer too... wishful thinking tho.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    So he's going to be traded at half value?

    Trading an injured player nets you 50 cents off the dollar.

  • I agree but for different reasons. Bulls have no shot next year so might as well let Deng and Rose take off as much time as possible to both heal and get the Bulls a higher draft choice hopefully. Then retool for a big push the following year.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Chad,
    Your suggestion is reasonable and wise - which means Gar/Pax and Thibs won't take that approach. Instead, they'll attempt to influence Deng to get surgery soon, miss the Olympics, and without Rose grind Deng further into the ground through 82 regular season games. Then Bulls will bring Rose back too quickly in an ill-advised attempt to make a playoff run with Rose less than 100%.

    The reasons for these decisions are not about winning a championship, its about:
    1) preventing season ticket holders from losing interest and not renewing, and
    2) the revenue gained from making the playoffs even though they have no realistic chance of advancing to the Finals or winning a championship.

  • Doug, is this something you heard from a source or just conjecture from the recent press conferences?

    Seems very short sited.

    I've always thought it was "browning points," not "brownie points." I always thought it had something to do with Robert and Elizabeth Barret Browning- guess I was wrong.

  • Doug are you going to write about the playoffs at all this year? I think we would all be interested especially with the Heat struggling lately.

  • I think the bulls have every right to ask him not to play. They are paying $10 million dollars a year to play for the bulls. I also think they are crazy if they think that is going to sway his decision. I would also hope that Deng and Thibs/Pax/Forman are well enough acquainted and respect each other enough that it is no more than a formality and that the discussion is mostly about changes for next year and wishing him well this summer.

  • I couldn't care what the hell anybody is discussing today, after hearing the good news that starting this off-season Joakim Noah will be working on all aspects of his offensive game with the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
    Jabbar is the man the Lakers hired to fine tune Andrew Bynum into the player he is today. All that you marvel at when you see Bynum in the Lakers lineup was put together by Kareem. But Bynum, who never went to college and has renegade aspects to his makeup, was not a cerebral player like Noah. This is a match made in heaven for Abdul-Jabbar who has been fascinated by Noah's potential.
    He thinks Noah could dominate the game as a big man. The running of the floor is already there, the passing and knowledge of the game are already there, the dominant rebounding is already there, the over 70% comfort at the free throw line is there, and add in a hook shot and a back-to-the-basket comfort while on the offensive and the Chicago Bulls will be unstoppable when Derek Rose rejoins the squad.
    I'm sure Reinsdorf and Paxson (the man who drafted Noah) are very happy.
    Guys, we're in for some exciting times in Chicago!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    That's awesome, only we should be getting all our bigs some work on offensive development. If Omer stays , get him in the weightroom, teach an elbow shot and start both Jo and Omer. We have to think outside the box, we need two way players developed from the raw goop we have.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Don't get too excited about Kareem working with Noah. Noah is 27 years old and cannot shoot a basketball. He has no turnaround jumper, no bankshot jumper, no pull-up jumper - all because he has no jumper, he has a two-handed set shot. And he doesn't think he needs to change it.

    I say this as a fan whose favorite player as a kid was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Leave it to an idiot, a jackass like you, Edward, to pour cold water over some fantastic news.
    Why not admit that you were never a fan of Noah and as the kids say, YOU WERE A HATER.
    Let me tell you something, CLOWN, Jabbar likes Noah and says he has the potential to become a dominant player at his position. Also, Phil Jackson is high on him. Who the hell are you to give an analysis on a guy (Noah) who was a star on a team that won back-to-back national titles in college. Only on a Bulls blogs can you find worms like you.
    I say this as a kid who,when living in Florida, watched Kareem, then Lew Alcindor, dismantle Wilt Chamberlain when the Milwaukee Bucks tangled with the Los Angeles Lakers in the early seventies. I had a friend from New York who was a big fan of the young Alcindor. So don't throw that trash about being a big Kareem fan on the youngsters on this Blog. You're just a fake!
    What Noah has in abundance is what even a LeBron James doesn't seem to have, A WILL TO WIN and step up in big situations when RAW NERVES count, GAME and SEASON on the line. Noah has something you can't teach, RAW NERVES in big situations. You saw it in that steal and drive the length of the floor to dunk the ball and complete a three-point play against a stunned Paul Pierce. Thibs saw it first hand because Noah did it against the Boston Celtics. So you can hide all your personal hate for Noah by couching it with trash like "no bankshot, no turnaround jumper, no pull-up jumper, no two-handed set shot." What else does he not have? I'll tell you what he has.....HEART! That's why he's a winner.
    Didn't you hear what Derrick Rose said about Noah after the still young center had achieved the first triple-double by a Bulls center in roughly 35 years. And he did it in February against Scott Skiles and the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee. Noah had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bulls' 110-91 win.

    "He's just like a guard, where he's making great plays passing it to the corners," Derrick Rose marveled after they had dismantled Milwaukee.
    Noah posted a career high in assists! "For a big man he's great at making decisions coming down the floor, teammate Luol Deng added. "A lot of big men will get a little hesitant having the ball in their hands, but he's comfortable with it," Deng concluded.
    Scott Skiles, a tough coach who coached Noah in Chicago and should know his capabilities, said admiringly, "He's got the ability to handle the ball, pass the ball. He hurt us here tonight," Skiles concluded.

    For you, Edward, to try to tear Noah apart on this Bulls Blog is one of the most disgraceful things I've ever read a so-called fan of a team do to one of its players. You should be ashamed of yourself, and I hope Bulls fans remember your fake name. I could just imagine what you look like.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    So much drama. I'm glad he's getting extra coaching but I think that the point being made was that he is a poor offensive player. Which is true. And it's not like he has received no coaching to date, obviously. Unlikely then that he will expand much on his limited offensive repertoire at this point in his career - but we can hope.

  • In reply to Dave:

    Take the totality of his game, the package. Don't isolate the parts. Noah is a unique player. Those who nit pick have an agenda.
    Who was his big man coach to date?
    I can find a lot of things wrong with so-called centers like the no-heart Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers. Noah has torn him apart every time they meet. He did it in their recent meeting. Look at his numbers and you would be astonished. It was as if he wasn't in the game.
    Yet people like you and your buddy Edward wouldn't examine Hibbert and wonder what's wrong with his game. The truth is that he has no stomach for real challenges and go check on his performances against Noah. Noah devoured him throughout his college and pro careers.
    Yet he cleverly woos the media guys and along with people like you he's acquired the reputation of a young star, although a year ago he was coming off the bench. This year he made the all star reserves because of people like you and your pal.
    Limited offense? Didn't hall of famer Dennis Rodman have a limited offence but was the defensive anchor of Pistons and Bulls championship winning teams. Give me a break!
    Noah will never satisfy you bastards. I just want him to win a ring in Chicago then tell people like you GET LOST and move back to the place of his birth. People like you don't deserve anything.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    ~scrolling down~

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Substitute "NERVES OF STEEL" for RAW NERVES. Anyhow, I think everyone gets the picture!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    SlamDunk,
    Try the decaf next time, or maybe you need to get laid. The name calling is completely unnecessary. All I said was what Dave succinctly summarized. Noah is extremely limited offensively and just because he works out with Kareem for a few weeks don't expect a significant improvement in Noah's offensive game.

    Why wasn't Noah working on his offensive game when he was in high school, at Florida, his first 5 years in the NBA? Now suddenly at age 27 Kareem's talent is going to magically rub-off on Noah? I doubt it. Kareem was a better offensive player as a high school freshman at Power Memorial HS than Noah is at age 27.

    I'm glad Noah has an interest now, but its a little late for dramatic improvement.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Edward, when was the last time you got laid?
    You wouldn't ask people like Dennis Rodman who were outstanding rebounders why they weren't better offensively? And guess what, he's in the Hall of Fame.

    Edward, you're one of those dirtbags who have an agenda and plant yourself on blogs doing your best to destroy players you never liked.
    I'm sure you're one of those dispicable people on this blog who were screaming for Pax to draft that stiff Spencer Hawes instead of Noah in the 9th spot of the 2007 NBA Draft. Sure, he can shoot it and he's 7ft. 1in. tall. But that's all he can do, doesn't rebound, run the floor or finds team mates when he has the opportunity to find open players. A complete stiff who only flourised when Noah got injured and out of the Bulls team in the just concluded series against Philadelphia.

    Another big man who can shoot, that Edward should be asking questions of, is the seven-footer Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers. When you see him, Edward, ask him why he's been so soft throughout his college and pro career.
    You see, Edward, you can't teach such stuff. It's called character, toughness. You know that, Edward, but you're a dishonest fool.
    Further, who the hell are you to say that it's too late for Noah to work on important aspects of his game. He could have done like players such as Rodman and say I'm a rebounder and I can win titles by providing that important form of support to my team.
    I'm just tired of you fakes who pretend you're honest and Bulls fans. You're not!

  • In reply to Edward:

    Edward, your fluency in english and big word infatuation don't make up for your pessimistic, ignorant point of views. Sounding smart doesn't hide being dumb.

  • In reply to Chicagosportsguru:

    SlamDunk and ChicagoSportsGuru,

    I'd love it if this summer Noah suddenly developed a fundamentally sound jump shot he could use as a turnaround (right and left), pullup, bankshot, etc. But I don't believe Noah can as that would require abandoning his two-handed set shot. After 5 NBA seasons Noah has very limited offensive skills even when receiving the ball in the paint within 5-10 feet of the hoop.

    If next season Noah suddenly displays a fundamentally sound jumper and an expanded offensive repertoire I'll eat my words, gladly. I'll expect you two to do the same if Noah sticks with his two-handed set shot and his offensive game shows little improvement.

    SD - this afternoon with a 5'9" 135lb pianist, thanks for asking. And really, can you express an opinion without name calling? The name calling is only a reflection upon yourself.

  • While I see your point, Deng may also be under contract to other interests. I'm not sure what contracts Deng has with sponsers, I imagine in England they are quite substantial. Lets take Rose for example, and pretend he had the same injury as Deng and not the ACL. His shoe contract is more lucrative than his Bulls contract, so Adidas is as much his boss as the Bulls. Adidas would have great interest in Rose playing in the Olympics, since it is a world wide event and would have every right then to push him toward playing. I imagine a similar situation exists with Deng. Not to mention his own personal desires to play in the games.

    I imagine you already thought of this, but its just illustrates the dichotomy of interests with NBA teams and the Olympics. While the Bulls have every right to suggest Deng not play, (actually I don't think they have the righ according to the labor agreement, but I digress), there is no benefit in trying to push him not to play in the Olympics.

  • I could care less if he plays in the Olympics or not, in a few years this team will be rebuilding around derek rose(and mabye noah)anyway. A core of Noah, Deng, Boozer, Rip, Asik and Gibson ain't gonna win a championship. They're all one dimensional role players. Rose won't be his old self until the 2013-14 season, next season is lost. Hopefully gar and pax make the proper moves to start this rebuilding process sooner than later or just be patient for the next few years until all the bad contracts expire.

  • I agree that is in the Bulls best interest to not appear upset about Deng playing in the Olympics, but as fan and a person who has responsibilities, I believe Deng should do what best for him as a Bulls player. One could correctly argue, that by doing what's best for himself as a Bulls player, is the best way he could honor GB. The money and opportunity with the Bulls is also a 'once in a lifetime', you would belittle that by saying he could get that anywhere? The Bulls have been extremely patient with Deng thru his injury prone career. When it came time for him to get paid, he got paid. Your right this is about honor, and now it's time for a young Loul Deng to learn what that means by doing what's best for the team that honored him, The Chicago Bulls.

  • Doug, as a disinterested observer, you are probably taking the right approach. However, both Deng and the Bulls are approaching the situation from their own selfish point of view, and those points of view are diametrically opposed.

    Whatever damage is done to the relationship, Deng is only going to be a Bull for 2 years at most. I'd say that the odds of him being traded in the next 2 years are at least 50/50. There are $27.625 million reasons that the odds are not 100%.

    If he isn't traded before his contract expires, I cannot see the Bulls overpaying him a second time. In the summer of 2014 he will be 29 and looking for another(his last) big payday. As an already under athletic player, I don't see him or his game aging well.

    So, whatever the Bulls approach, they relationship is already heading for the exit.

    With Rose out, next year becomes something of a developmental year for the Bulls anyway. So if Deng misses 2 months, it gives us 2 months to get a good look at what Jimmy Butler can be, hopefully he gets a chance to start, but knowing Thibs he will give the starting job to a fringe veteran.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You sir have way more faith in Gar/Pax than I do. I do think they would gladly overpay a second time because they are that stupid. I agree that someone is going to get shafted giving Deng a big contract at 29 as I too think he will age poorly.

  • If the Bulls don't want their players to play in the Olympics or other National games in the offseason, they should trade them.

    Yes, trade Luol (at half value), trade Noah, trade Asik, trade Rose while they're at it, and since Taj has been selected for the Team USA scrimmage team, trade him too.

    This will show the rest of the players THEY are the boss because if they didn't know, Players don't win championships, Organizations do.

  • Lu's had a good career with the Bulls. If he had more talent around him all the way through, and better coaching pre-Thibs, I doubt his shortcomings would have been as noticable if not have lessened in that environment.

    He played on a painful wrist injury, and has had to endure injuries for much of his career. Yet in only two seasons did he not play more then 60 games.

    16ppg on .460 shooting for a career is a good offensive player even without free throws and three pointers for most of it. For a time, I did think he pouted and didn't play as hard as he could have for about a season and a half there, but he's only human. Overall, he's put in a good effort, and been a likable player and solid teammate. This year he was a big piece of there winning and fan's enjoyment despite playing through pain.

    The guy's home country is a nightmareland where he and his family easily could have been slaughtered. Fortunately his dad had the ability to get them the hell out of there. Great Britain was his salvation. IMO he should be allowed to play without any objections if not with the Bull's blessing. Unlike other players going to the olympics with an injury, Lu's case is unique, and he's put in the time. A classy organization, and the Bulls, should give the OK at minimum if not give a note of encouragement or understanding.

  • IMO if the Bulls press for Deng to do anything other than where his convictions lie : they will have further cemented a horrid reputation as misers more interested in bottomlines (AntiCuban), than those with some respect for the game and the people who represent their brand .
    This is an off season for the brilliant to stand out and the others to shut the fuck up. If we don't do homework and get ideas out of thebox then why root for losing and attitudes you can see EVERYWHERE ?

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