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.