Tom Thibodeau and Gar Forman each did interviews on ESPN 1000 today, and both of them said they expect Deng to avoid surgery after playing in the Olympics.
Bulls fans have long considered it a foregone conclusion that Luol would have surgery following the Olympics. Afterall, he's clearly torn ligament isn't going to reattach itself, however, the belief is now that he's strengthened the wrist enough that he may simply not need the ligament.
Now if Deng can play at full strength by strengthening his wrist in someway that's awesome. However, if he's going to be limited forever, then just do the surgery and get it over with. We don't need Deng to be a one handed dribbler for the rest of his career, particularly after the Bulls opted not to move him on draft day.
I certainly hope Luol is healthy enough to play the whole season, but I just want to make sure the long term approach is taken here rather than the short term approach. Chicago would certainly hold the course better without Rose to start the season if Deng isn't out as well.
In other news, contract talks with Tom Thibodeau have been testy. The Bulls are allegedly hoping to avoid a Skiles situation where they feel their coach might wear on their present players and then they need to let him go with several years on his deal and owing him 10 million or more.
Look, I get that fear, but Thibs legitimately one coach of the year two years ago, and if he hadn't won it then, he would have likely won it this year [but they simply don't give to the same guy two years in a row]. I don't see how you can not want to bring this guy back. The replacement is going to be worse, and the odds of him getting any respect in the locker room after the players dealing with Thibs are particularly small.
This is even more true, because Chicago likely wouldn't bring in a high powered, expensive guy if things didn't work out with Thibodeau. Thibs is on a contract for this season still, so there's no need to necessarily come to terms right away, however, it sends a bad message to players and teams have typically struggled with lame duck coaches who don't appear to have managements approval.
In the end, this is likely a money game. Thibodeau can make a case that he deserves 8+ million per season, and the Bulls are likely trying to argue him down to 4+ million a season. With the Knicks in the market for a coach next season [with a likely near unlimited budget], Chicago will either lose Thibodeau or pay a hefty pricetag if it gets to bidding war.
It's still early in the game though, I expect the Bulls and Thibs to get past all the posturing and settle on an extension prior to the season starting.