Luol Deng and Bulls discussing extension with Iggy/Smith as the baseline? Ut oh.

Look, I love Luol Deng. In the end, I think he more or less lived up to his current contract. He wasn't any special deal given the amount he was paid, but he gave the Bulls some very good years, and Chicago certainly did him no favors by grinding him into dust over them. That said, if we're talking Iguodala and Josh Smith as the comparisons for a new deal? Do. Not. Want.

When we drafted Luol Deng the thought was that you wouldn't get a star, but you could plug him in as your starting SF for the next decade and not worry about the position. Well, things couldn't have been any more accurate than that could they? Deng's never been a star (despite two all-star appearances, Bulls fans know its true), but he's been solid, dependable, hard working, gritty, and above average for nearly a decade with the team.

As much as I'd love to replace Deng with a star and would be open to trading him, the rest of the NBA knows this too. No one is giving you a star for Luol Deng. Just not happening. So here's the thing. Andre Iguodala is much better than Luol Deng. They average similar scoring, rebounding, are both tremendous defenders (though Iguodala is the more athletic disruptive of the pair and the one I'd prefer defensively), but Andre can dribble the ball. He can create. He can be a secondary ball handler.

Those things make him vastly more valuable than Luol. He got 12 million.

Josh Smith got 14 million because the Pistons are ridiculously stupid. Hell, I'm taking both Iguodala and Deng over Smith. I thought Smith was overpaid when Atlanta gave him 11.5 and he still had potential. Detroit just locked themselves into the worst contract of the summer by far. If we're using that as a baseline for Deng, lets simply run away now.

Aggrey Sam tweeted the following:

FWIW, I talked to a GM (not Gar) about Lu a while back...loves his game, guesses he could get $11-12M on the open market next summer

A fan then tweeted the following back:

Seems a bit low considering Deng is arguably the best on the market after the six stars and possibly Pau. Teams usually over pay after striking out on the major guys and seeing a lot of teams are going to strike out I wouldn't be shocked to see Deng get around $13-$14 per year

Both things might be accurate, but if it's the second we should run the heck away in the other direction. If it's the first, we should simply slowly back away.

The second quote amuses me because of its accuracy [that someone will potentially make a stupid offer, see Josh Smith this year] and irony "Luol Deng's arguably the best on the market after the six stars and possibly Pau".

[Channeling Bill Simmons] Any time you can lock up the 8th best free agent for 14 million a year you have to do it.

You know who should be thrown into the mix here? Kevin Martin. The brittle guard with a better scoring average and more efficiency than Luol Deng could ever dream of. The guy who can create his own shot, shoot threes and get to the foul line. He landed a deal for seven million a year. For seven million a year, I'm fricken pissed if I'm an OKC fan that he wasn't kept.

You know for damn sure he's signing with the Thunder at the same pricetag over the Wolves, and the Thunder aren't likely to find a better SG replacement for him for less money later unless a rookie pans out.

How about Paul Millsap at 9.5 with only two years? Plays a more valuable position, scores more per minute at higher efficiency. Great deal for Atlanta. I would love to have Paul Millsap on the Bulls.

Luol Deng's got a bunch of tread on his tires. He's a really good play an even better guy [seriously on a personal level he's one of the absolute best in the league, and people will randomly say this about all kinds of guys, but with Luol it's totally true]. That said, let's not get locked into the bad deal portion of his career.

If Chicago can't find a good deal for him in the off-season or at the trade deadline then keep him for this final year. Let's see if the Bulls can win a title this season, they'll have a shot. I'd rather have Deng there helping with that goal this season than having an extra pick in the mid 20s next year join the team.

So if it's merely a dump, then let's roll with Deng for another season. If we can't get anything done meaningful in next years free agency period then negotiate with Deng, see if he'll take something reasonable. See if the market dries up. However, if it doesn't, let him be someone else's mistake.

Chicago's near the maximum expenditure they're going to allow. They need to start looking for impact players when signing guys for over 10 million not role players and glue guys.

Filed under: Free Agency

Tags: chicago bulls, Luol Deng, nba

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  • Man, you underestimate Deng or overrate Kmart. Kmart can't play a lick of D. Deng is worth $10m a year. Might get paid $12m. It would be stupid for the bulls to lose such a solid player over $2m a year with no way to replace him.

  • I agree with your general take on Deng, although I think that he has been significantly overpaid for his entire current deal, and is massively overpaid for the upcoming year.

    I will be smoking pissed if the Bulls resign Deng during the upcoming season. There is simply no compelling reason to do so. He isn't going to give us a single penny in discount, so wait him out, and if he wants Josh Smith money, let him walk.

    I was very surprised that Milsap "only" got $9.5 million for only 2 years. I find it hard to believe that Milsap wasn't looking for a 4 year deal. I agree with you that I would rather have both Iggy and Milsap(even though he plays a different position) than Deng.

    Interesting question for Bulls fans, would you rather have Milsap on his contract or Taj on his?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Milsap is the much better deal. But I doubt the bulls could have negotiated that. They seem to get reemed frequently at the negotiating table. I love Taj but he got way overpaid at over 8 per year. 8 and 5 doesn't warrent anywhere near that money.

    Deng was an untradeable albatross for over three years. It wasn't till his contract was short enough to stomach that anyone became remotely interested in possibly trading for him. I like the guy but overpaying a try hard role player has major negative consequences for your roster. Bulls management will cement themselves as complete dumbasses when they hand Deng 13+ over 4 years. We all know its going to happen we all knew last summer when the whole 2014 plan came to light that the real plan was to yet again overpay Loul. That is the creativity of the Bulls FO.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I think Taj was paid on what his role WILL BE, instead of his current role. Once Booz is amnestied, Taj will slot in at the 4 and Mirotic will back him up in year 1. I think Taj was the Nikola insurance policy in case he never came over. With Taj, the Bulls did what most of us fans wanted us to, they locked him up. Did they overpay, yes, did they have to, yes. The NBA has always been a league that overpays mid tier guys by 25-50%, especially if they are big. The siliver lining is that even on this deal, Taj is tradable, a team could take him back in a deal without getting killed for it.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    I really doubt Boozer will get amnestied.

    But yes they did pay Taj for a potential starting role as he is worth about half his salary for his current role. Point is they get screwed even when they get the home town discount. Thanks Kirk!

    BTW Taj is currently 28 so his best years are likely not 2-3 years from now when he might be a starter.

  • Didn't deng's agent deny they had ZERO negotiation talks with bulls? Adrian woj..reported that about week and a half ago now he is reporting it again?? Think I will believe deng's agent.

  • There's no way in HELL Deng is worth the money that he thinks he's worth. A trade this off season or at the trade deadline needs to be made even if the Bulls don't get the better of the deal. Bulls FO need to get creative fast or as I said...not get the better of a Deng trade. Its time to move on from Deng cause he's not getting any better. Lamarcus Aldridge and Montae Ellis wants to play for the Bulls, Bulls can't get both but one of the two preferabley Aldridge needs to be the Bulls focus this off season or at the trade deadline. And back to Ellis, I really do believe that's why Ellis haven't signed with a team yet, he wants the Bulls.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Bulls have no mechanism to get Ellis unless they amnesty Boozer or trade Deng in a straight salary dump. Bulls cant receive a S&T player since they are using the MMLE on Dunleavy. If the Bulls amnestied Boozer (not gonna happen) they could classify Dunleavy under the MLE (meaning they didn't use the MMLE) and then be S&T trade eligible. The only thing though is that they are gonna have to send someone back to MIL to make sure they don't exceed the apron (not allowed if you do a S&T). So the question is do we value Deng/Hinrich, Boozer/Hinrich more than someone like Ellis?

  • Deng at 4/40 is ok for both sides, you have to factor in that the last half of that deal he's going to be in great decline. If he wants maximum dollars at $13m per, its time to say goodbye and groom Jimmy Butler in his glue guy role. He's a solid pro but his offensive limitations hurt the Bulls, he's doesn't have good handles, can't create for himself, is an average athlete and the worst part is his shooting has been going downhill the last several years........all signs pointing to a major regret if they resign him. I like him as a solid two way player but the Bulls need scoring and shot creation and that is where they need to invest salary cap money going forward.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Thats why I don't think that he is even worth 4/40. That contract would be just like the one that Gerald Wallace signed that everyone hated from the minute that he signed it. Will the Deng of 2 years from now be any better than Wallace? I doubt it.

  • I share the same POV as Doug. Deng is not worth Iggy money ($12M per year) for 3 reasons:

    1) Injury History- In every investment analysis in Finance (I'm a CPA, sorry) you build in what's called a risk premium. There is a better than average risk that Deng will be hurt and you price that in to whatever you are thinking about paying him. You start at Iggy's $12M and start cutting from there.

    2) Extension Discount- This isn't an open market proposition, which is what Iggy had, it's an extension, so there should be a reduction because there is risk (there's that word again) of locking in someone a year early and should factor in to the price somewhat.

    3) Hometown Discount- There should be a hometown discount, Deng has made gobs of money playing basketball here, he has experienced success here and more is coming. His play has been elevated under Thibs (depite the physical punishment). He has only played for this franchise and it's not like they need a deep discount but something.

    All these conditions are substantially different than Iggy's situation which is what's being used as the base line. If Deng is getting an extension it should be 3yrs./$28M with the final year being partially guaranteed ($1M).

    Here are the payouts:
    Year 1: $8,667,054
    Year 2: $9,317,083
    Year 3: $10,015,864 ($1M Guaranteed)

    Of course, none of this will happen, he will hit free agency and I honestly don't know what we're gonna do. Though my prediction is that he will be our Boozer/Wallace panic signing when we miss on our top target and we'll overpay. 4yrs/$48M, no trade clause. Ugh!

  • Nolebron good points I'm an Accountant, working on my CPA in the near future, currently have a MBA. I feel like you say that around $9.3M average for a 3 year deal is very fair to Deng considering the big bucks we paid him already in his career and he will be in decline.
    He however has played so many minutes, some of the most in the NBA so $10M average for 3 years is fair as well.
    Any more than $10M/yr is over paying him and we should let him walk if he is offered that from another team!
    The guy we let walk we never should (ASIK), that was such a huge error in judgement...a 7 footer and not a bean pole who is one of the best defensive Centers in the league!

    Sad when small market teams (Clips eventhough they are in LA, OKC, Memphis, SA, Celtics from a few year ago with big 3, Miami but that was a super friends arrangement not GM savy per say) make the big moves and have such great off-seasons to assemble a championship team! We were extremely lucky to win the lottery and be able to pick home boy Rose, but we have made some stupid and very below average moves to surround Rose with "talen" such as RIP, Boozer, relying too much on Deng etc, then letting Asik walk and getting nothing for him...even receiving OJ Mayo from Memphis would have been somewhat ok.

  • I have no problem resigning Deng. Nolebron is correct in that the Bulls do this now, it's an extension AND the hometown discount should apply since there is less risk to Luol since he knows the system and thrives in that system. So, theoretically, if he thinks he's getting $13/yr for 4, this should be reduced based on the above 2 factors.

    I don't think he's all that injury prone given his role and minutes. And, he's really not that old. In fact, he should age well given his playing style. He has become a better shooter and you can argue that his play has suffered the last 2 seasons due to the wrist issue that should be fully healed after this summer. This has hurt his ball handing in particular. Contract or no contract, I think he's set up to have his best couple years now that the wrist is healed and his 3 pt shooting has improved, although it faded the 2nd half of this season.

    Although he cannot create offense, he still averaged in the high teens and does just about everything else well - rebounding, defense, etc...

    I think the Bulls should offer $10 mil for 4 years and possibly settle at $11 if they can lock up Lu this summer. He's currently making $14.3 mil and this would technically be a pay cut.

    If he goes on the market, I highly doubt he gets more than $12 mil per year given that he's at his ceiling and he not a particularly exciting player to watch in that he plays below the rim.

    Still, he is of great value to the Bulls if he's paid close to $10-11 mil per year. This allows Butler to play SG.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I don't know how you can say that he has become a better shooter. He has shot career lows from the field the past 2 seasons, 41% and 42% respectively. He used to be a 47-48% shooter. He may have improved his 3 point shooting but at the expense of the rest of his game, and he is still very inconsistent as a 3 point shooter.

    If you want to blame it on his wrist, then if his wrist wasn't healed this past season what makes you think that it will be miraculously so this season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BigWay:

    There are two ways for a ligament injury like that to heal, surgery and rest. Deng didn't have the chance to rest it last summer. He does this summer. It's not a "miraculous" thing at all. It's just about getting it time to rest.

  • I think a team of Rose, Butler, Deng, Mirotic and Noah gives good balance and floor spacing and can contend for a title. Who else has a better starting 5? Not many teams in today's new CBA. The Bulls can sign these 5 long-term if they wish, although Taj may have to be moved, depending on what is paid to Deng (perhaps this summer) and Butler and Mirotic when their contracts are up. (Assuming signs a year or two at the mid level and then is resigned after that.)

  • In reply to Granby:

    I'm sorry but I really wouldn't put too much into Mirotic until he proves he can play at the NBA level and I take you are thinking he would play PF taking Boozer spot. Again I wouldn't put that type of pressure on Mirotic to score and rebound which Boozer does do from time to time but not enough. That would be putting too much pressure on Noah to guard and block out the other team's PF and center cause Mirotic seems to be more of a perimeter scorer and wouldn't beaaround the basket all that much.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    It is physically impossible for Mirotic to be worse than Boozer defensively or effort wise unless he plays in a wheel chair.

    Mirotic's strength is supposed to be his shooting, especially from long range, so that too should be an upgrade over the BozoHole.

    As for rebounding, boozer lives off of Noah, not the other way around, so Noah is not going to be more stressed playing with Mirotic than he is playing with the 265 albatross that he has carried around for the past 3 years.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Why not believe in Mirotic? If he were in this year's draft, he'd have been the number one pick, easy! in 2011, when the Bulls selected him in the 20's at only 19 years old, he supposedly would have gone in the top 10 if there was any way to get him to the US sooner.

    As it is, it's the perfect scenario. The Bulls control the rights to the best Euro prospect with Marc Gasol. Now, is he a superstar? No, but he can be a solid starter and he's exactly what the Bulls need - a stretch 4. Now, if he can play the 3 a bit, which I doubt, all the better.

    He will make everyone better because of his shooting - especially Noah (more room under the hoop) and Rose (better spacing and open up the lane - scary!).

    I like Boozer. He's been a good player, but just not someone to count on in the playoffs. He was drafted in the 2nd round for a reason... unfortunately for the Bulls, he's a nice starter that is being paid near-max money.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I couldn't agree with Granby more. Bulls fans criticize dumb moves that the Bulls FO have made in the past when it comes to overpaying players (Boozer, Wallace, Deng), but then criticize when they let players walk when they get overpaid (Asik, Gordon, Courtney Lee), although I do believe Ellis or Mayo would be good fits off of the bench. The FO has actually done pretty well to put this team together Rose, Buckets, Deng, Boozer & Noah w/ Hinrich, Taj, Dunleavy and others off the bench is damn good and if we stay healthy will have just as good of a shot as any to make it out of the East.

    People keep saying that we need a secondary ball handler and creator but I think the org thinks we have that in Jimmy Butler/Kirk Hinrich. Jimmy has shown vast improvements every year dating back to high school and I think that type of work ethic is what the Bulls covet when we bring in talent (now) and why our players have been panning out nice. Even the later picks (Jimmy, Taj, Asik). I also love the two picks in this current draft. The org doesn't look to sign just talent but the player must have a workman's like approach to the game. The problem is most guys like this aren't immensely talented and if they are they would be out of our price range.

    So there lies the question. Do you take a risk on a guy with questionable character but very talented over a guy with great character who isn't as talented? I say no. I love the way the team plays and it proves to be successful against everyone except the Heat in the playoffs. I believe that we didn't have enough offensive balance to beat the Heat in 2011, and of course injuries killed us the last two years, but I fell the roster has definitely improved from what it was in 2011 and character/hard work mentality was not sacrificed. I like our lineup as currently constituted and feel we only need to add small pieces. I think this notion that we need another star player is just panic from the Bulls fans. The Bulls FO have been patient, smart and cautious with moves b/c they know what we have. We just need Derrick to add more balance to the offense like Hinrich did. Which I believe is the real reason they brought him back.

  • I would rather have Deng play out the season and see what happens versus signing him to an extension. Salary wise you cant keep him and Jimmy around. I would like to see about trading Lu for Pau Gasol and see us resign Ronnie Brewer. I would also go to Butler early and offer him a a 3yr/$21M extension and see if he bites. That would represent a major bargain, but obviously a risk to us as well. I know that sounds crazy, but sometimes you need to think outside the box, especially in this new punitive tax era and Jimmy Butler is a building block.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Ronnie Brewer?! Oh, no! Talk about poor floor spacing - nobody guards him and teams would lay back and play zone defense.

    And, if we can't sign Deng, how are we supposed to sign Gasol? There is plenty of money for Butler and Deng. Butler does not have to be extended for 3 more seasons. The only question becomes the Bulls paying the luxury tax after the 2013-14 season. If not, you probably amnesty Boozer. Either way, Mirotic is signed for the MLE or the MMLE for a season or two and then extended.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Can you even extend Butler yet? They guy's rookie deal lasts 3 more seasons so you don't have to pay him big money until 4 seasons from now! I don't think either party would consider it yet - too much risk.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Not so!
    Like ALL 1st round draft picks, Butler is eligible for a contract extension after his 3rd season in July 2014. If Butler is not extended after before his 4th season begins (October 2014), he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of his 4th season in July 2015.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Right. Bottom line, they can lock him up the summer of 2014, but his new contract would not start (I assume) until the summer of 2016. He would be restricted in 2015.

  • In reply to Granby:

    No, Butler's new contract would start the summer of 2015. The fifth year your are thinking of is simply a qualifying offer that allows Bulls to match any competing offers - but most likely that fifth year never comes into effect. If it did Butler would be an UNRESTRICTED free agent in July 2016.

  • In reply to nolebron:

    Another homer over valuing Jimmy Butler...

    Follow this Deng is only worth 8 to 9 million per. Jimmy Butler is NOT better than Deng. So how is 7 mil per a major deal for Jimmy?

    He can't score or rebound to Dengs level and has never averaged double digits. Lets not go assuming he is a lock to be a star when he has quite a ways to go and isn't a super young guy. I think he can give you Deng lite stats and probably eventually replace him but let's be realistic.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Fair points, but in Butler's favour he's also 5 years younger than Deng so you're paying for his prime vs paying for his decline. Remember you don't give a contract on past production but on projected future production. He's got a better offensive rebound rate than Deng, and offensive rebounds are way more valuable than defensive ones. And he put up a TS% better than anything Deng has done in his career.

    He's not and won't be a star, but 7 million strikes me as a pretty fair price.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Your take on Butler is way off. Bulter has never started full time and is only going into his 3rd season, the season when players typically make the biggest jump in their careers.

    Based on the limited amount of starts that Butler had, I don't think that averaging 16 & 6 would be all that hard for Butler. As a full time small forward I think that Butler is a better rebounder than Deng, he likely gives you 5-6 a night from the 2 guard spot.

    I think that if it didn't already happen in the playoffs, this is the season that Bulter surpasses Deng as a player, and he is entering his prime and Deng is entering his 30's, maybe even late 30's for all we know.

  • I'm disappointed the Bulls aren't offering Nate Robinson a fair contract such as under $4M/yr. He provided us fans with great passion and excitement in a throw away year without Rose! He has a great chance to be a 6th man off the bench for us as outside of Rose we have trouble with offense!
    I would also see about bringing Ronnie Brewer back for cheap, with with Deng, Butler, now Snell, I doubt we need him...also Dunleavy...but for defense on a minimum contract RB is a good value!

  • In reply to smiley:

    Brewer is a good value at the minimum, but the Bulls roster is too deep and talented for him to matter. I guess if there is nothing out there, sure, he would be nice as the 12th man. I'd rather bring back Nate for $3 million for 2 years than Brewer at the min. At least Nate can score.

  • In reply to smiley:

    We have nothing but the veterans minimum to offer him, so lets all get real.

    If Nate doesn't get something better than that, then maybe he comes back to the Bulls, and even then the bulls probably won't give him more than a year.

  • With all due respect, the headline of this article is completely misleading. It is based on another GM's estimation and a fan's guess at Deng's value. Nowhere does it mention the Bulls have had substantive discussions regarding an extension at a comparable value to Iggy or Smith.

    And in response to the comments discussing Ellis, no thank you. Not sure why you would want him on the Bulls unless it is off the bench in an instant offense role at a reasonable contract. After turning down two years and $24 million from the Bucks my guess is he is looking for more (and probably won't get it). I may be wrong but I don't think he is an efficient offensive player.

  • Cool if we could pull something like this off

    http://basketball.realgm.com/tradechecker/saved_trade/6314340

  • My position all along has been if Deng wants "market value" you have to let him walk. As Jimmy Butler has shown, it's possible to get a rookie deal who does 80-90% of what Deng does for a fraction of the cost, so there's simple no way the Bulls should be paying him given they don't want to be big tax spenders.

    That said Kevin Martin isn't really a fair comparison given he's two years older than Deng and is one of the worst defenders in the league. I'd expect Deng to get a little more than him, so if Kevin Martin at 7 million is a "good" deal then Deng is maybe worth 9. I could stomach retaining Deng at 4/36. If he wants Iggy or Smith money he can find it elsewhere.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    While Doug thinks that Kevin Martin is great deal, the consensus among NBA commentators is that it is less than a good deal if not quite a bad deal. Playing with Rubio might make it look like a good deal, and Minny has been flailing at the 2 guard position for ever.

    Also, I'm not sure that Bulter only gives you 80-90 percent of what Deng does. I think there is a compelling argument that Bulter is the superior player in nearly every aspect of their games. Clearly he is the better defender, I'd give him rebounding also. Shooting is the biggest question mark, and Butler seems to be improving(especially the corner 3) while Deng has regressed massively since peaking in 05-06.

    By the end of this upcoming season, I doubt that there is anyone who wouldn't trade Deng for Bulter.

  • Did you see what Nick Young just signed for?? 1 year/ 1mil!! I know the dude's a knucklehead, but he's exactly what the Bulls need. He's a taller version of Nate. Can always find a shot, not afraid to shoot it, lethal when he's got it going. Really disappointed in the Bulls for not going after him when he's dropped THIS low. Guarantee he NateRob's himself into more $ next year. Damn!

  • In reply to retrodman:

    Nick Young is complete black hole and a net negative. He's exactly what no team needs.

  • In reply to retrodman:

    Nate Rob is unsigned and will not get what most thought he would be because he's Nate Rob. He'll probably get 2 years at $2.5-$3 million per year. It's a shame, but that's it.

  • In reply to Granby:

    And, I think if the Bulls fee like they can keep Nate for the above ($2 to $2.5 million per year for maybe 2 years) you have to think about signing him and trading Teague - surely they could get a future first for him? Maybe in 2015 or 2016? I don't care if it's 2018. I'm not all that impressed with the guy. If he increases his value in the summer league, shop him around.

  • Perhaps a more relevant question is, Why didn't Bulls FO see this coming and do something about Deng earlier? Why put yourself 'behind the 8-ball' with a player who screwed you during your last negotiations?

  • In reply to Edward:

    I don't see the Bulls as behind the 8-ball here. At least I hope they don't feel like they must resign him and instead are just kicking the tires to see if they can get him at a discount. Letting him walk is a perfectly good option for the Bulls, so it's not like they've backed themselves into a corner.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    To follow your "logic", therefore leting Asik walk for nothing was a perfectly good option for Bulls as well as letting Ben Gordon walk for nothing. The point is a good FO preserves assets or leverages them into future assets - not lose multiple top draft picks (or a product of an extensive European scouting system) for nothing. A team doesn't necessarily want to resign EVERY draft pick, but determining which ones to keep and then trading others for assets BEFORE the team is placed in an untenable situation - that would be good and intelligent management. What we are seeing here with Deng is bungled management because Bulls allowed themselves to slide into an untenable situation, particularly when they got the 'short end' of Deng's last contract negotiation.

  • In reply to Edward:

    No, Edward. Letting Deng go for nothing is fine because you are gaining back his cap space - $14.3 million next year, or perhaps he wants $12-13 million per year going forward.

    Deng is not worth all that much because he will be a free agent next year and he makes $14 million per year. We maybe could have gotten a top 10 draft pick. But, why go OKC (traded Hardin for a couple picks that are huge "ifs") and blow up the upcoming season when you have a chance to win the title!?

    Would you be happy with the 9th pick of the recent draft and a guy with almost no upside like Michigan's Trey Burk? Half the lottery picks won't amount to anything. And, who could the Bulls have traded him to for any decent value in return?

    I think it's a shame the Bulls lost Asik. They clearly did not expect the Houston offer. Perhaps they were unfamiliar with that deep, hidden rule about how Asik can be slotted differently against the cap for Houston than Chicago. Whatever. Asik was hurt last summer. The Bulls did not lock him up and lost him. Clearly, the Bulls misread the market on Asik, or maybe because of the injury they did not feel comfortable extending big money to a 7 footer with a stress fracture.

    Deng is different. And, I'm not so sure why people assume a 4 year deal for Deng means he'll be on some downside slide. They guy just turned 28. He has not been injury prone the last couple years. You can't count the playoffs this past year because that was a botched spinal tap! He had a tight hammy for a while this past season. Fine. Two years ago it was the wrist, which never healed because he played in the Olympics. But, he's not injury prone and he's not old. he will age well because his game is below the rim and he uses his size - ala Paul Pierce, who was solid until 33 or 34.

    Bottom line - you hope he takes $10 mil a year this summer. If not, you let him test the market next summer and perhaps lock him up for $11 mil or let him walk. I think some team will offer $12 mil, but will be a team he will want to play for? Who knows.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Letting Asik walk wasn't a good option because the Bulls were over the cap either way. Letting Deng walk the Bulls can be under the cap.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Bulls will not be under the cap enough to do anything significant.

    Also, Lakers will have only 1 or 2 players under contract in summer 2014. We've been down this road before, LeBron's not coming to Chicago, guys. All that would likely happen is Bulls overpay for a 2nd tier free agent like Boozer, Josh Smith, Iggy.

    Squandering assets is never a good thing...

  • Why cant the Bulls do more business with Charlotte where they give back that protected 1st for the rights to Gerald Henderson? It would give them another wing where they CAN make Deng expendable. Henderson and the Bobcats are at an impasse in negotiations where the 25 yr old wants 7-8 mil.They dont wanna do it!
    This would give us that 2nd scorer, that 2 way player we need with Rose who can put the ball on the floor and give the offense an added dimension of speed and athletics. Meanwhile good citizen Deng is an expiring contract who might command attention by the deadline to moved to get UNDER the taxline.

  • In reply to mummuhwalde:

    As Ronnie would have said, there you go again. Why is everybody so gungho to give away that Charlotte pick. Oh thats right everybody born after 1980 has ADHD.

    While I have always kind of liked Henderson, he seems to play well against the Bulls, he isn't worth giving up that pick.

    Giving up some other considerations might be worth it, not sure if Deng would be worth looking into. We should be able to do better than Henderson with our cap space next summer

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Well uumm let's examine this Charlotte pick that might come to fruition in 1-2 more years. The fact that Thibs doesn't play rookies, what guarantees do you have that that player has an impact within 3years ( where Rose will himself be in a contractsituation) over a productive vet who still has upside and possibility to thrive? Dunleavy said he was deprived in his career, What The Hell Do You Think Henderson WouldSay, big boy? ?
    Also, I took my Ativan today so I guess I'm cool with my well over 40yr old self. ... (under my breath) dealing with these pompous self righteous@$×"?!!
    I hope you get locked in an elevator with Boozer for a day;-)...

  • Interesting thoughts from Grantland on a Boozer amnesty, or as they called it a boozerectomy.

    Most interesting is that the bulls were better on OFFENSE last season with boozer on the bench. Clearly not something that many if any on this site would admit. additionally, they were about equal with or without boozer the previous 2 seasons. Given that he is an abomination to the game on defense, it certainly proves my contention that he contributes absolutely nothing to winning and is a significant factor in losing.

    The only compelling reason to keep him is our lack of bigmen and that he could/should play as the goto offensive player on the second unit, again what I have been saying for a couple of years.

    Like I always say, advanced stats don't tell you anything that your eyeball don't already know.

    Chicago Bulls: Carlos Boozer

    This might be the trickiest case of all. The most likely scenario has long been that the Bulls wait until next summer to finally amnesty Boozer, since doing so now would not open up any salary cap space. The Bulls also consider themselves a title contender if whole, and the lag time between the start of free agency and the league’s amnesty window means that Chicago would have no ready means to replace Boozer’s production on offense.

    It’s easy to overlook what Boozer brings on that end. He’s a minus defender, and Tom Thibodeau has often left him on the bench in favor of Taj Gibson during fourth quarters of close games. He’s slow, flat-footed, and he yells a lot. And for all his alleged offensive skills — some of which are clearly in decline — the Bulls scored more efficiently with Boozer on the bench last season, and at nearly identical rates in 2011-12 regardless of whether Boozer was on the floor, per NBA.com. The Bulls blew the league away on both ends with the Taj Gibson–Joakim Noah pairing in 2011-12, and in many more minutes last season Chicago scored above its overall rate with those two on the floor, per NBA.com — even without Derrick Rose, and with Jimmy Butler only just discovering what he can do on offense. Could the Bulls be ready to move on from Boozer?

    Maybe. But there is risk in this defense-first team surrendering a well-rounded offensive big man, especially with Rose recovering from knee surgery. The Bulls struggle for spacing, and they’ve made up for that by building many of their pet sets around the ability of both Noah and Boozer to do lots of things from the high post area. Boozer can shoot from there, providing some valuable air space, and he’s one of the best passing big men in the league. His post-up and off-the-bounce game are falling off with age, but Boozer is smart and keeps the ball moving in a way that works for Chicago.

    Even if the Bulls want more of the Gibson-Noah duo, they can still use Boozer to prop up reserve-heavy units. And they’d feel the trickle-down effect without Boozer. Dumping him would leave Chicago with only three rotation big men, meaning they’d rely upon Nazr Mohammed or some bottom-of-the-barrel free agent for important minutes — even if they extend last year’s use of small-ball lineups, partly an emergency response to injuries, into next season.

    Luol Deng’s contract is expiring, and with Butler rising into something like a proto-Deng, the easiest way to cap flexibility next summer is to let Deng walk and save the Boozer amnesty bullet for that time.

    But the cost of this team, as things stand now, is going to be enormous as the league’s new tax rates kick in. The Bulls payroll is going to move at least into the $81-$82 million range as they fill the roster, meaning Chicago will come in about $10 million over the new tax threshold. Factor in the harsh new penalties, and the Bulls are set to pay something like $96 million to field this roster. Keep in mind: Jerry Reinsdorf, the Bulls’ owner, has paid the luxury tax exactly once in 10 years — last season, when the Bulls plopped a $3.9 million tax bill atop their $74.3 million payroll, for a total payout of about $78.2 million.

    Is Chicago really ready to pay $18 million more than that this season, when slicing away Boozer could save them something like $12 million, factoring in replacement costs?

    Chicago could find other ways of saving some scratch — salary-dumping Kirk Hinrich during the season, or even dealing Deng’s expiring contract if they feel comfortable doing so. Huge salary dumps might be a little harder during the season than they used to be, since teams are rushing to reach the league’s new (and higher) salary floor now instead of hoarding space into January and February. But there are always other avenues for savings.

    The most likely scenario remains for the Bulls to keep Boozer one more year. But the cost, plus the potential for Rose to carry more Gibson-Butler minutes, makes an accelerated Boozer-ectomy at least worth considering.

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