Deng and Bulls heading for split in a year?

Luol Deng's agent fired plenty of shots at the Bulls in an interview with David Aldridge.

"We never negotiated," Rudoy said Friday. "We had several meetings. One was to discuss the medical care he got, or did not get, after his spinal tap [in May], which was of great concern to him."

"And we had another meeting to discuss whether they would discuss a contract," Rudoy said. "He [Forman] called me a week or two ago and decided they did not want to discuss a contract and that it would have to wait until after the season. I told them they'd have to wait until after July 1, because he would have to see what the market is, and that he would become a free agent. And I couldn't promise he wouldn't sign somewhere else. Now, he loves being there, and he loves playing for [coach Tom] Thibodeau. Loves playing for him. But he has to see what the market is."

Now the second quote about Deng playing the market is just par for the course, however, the first quote about Deng being upset about his medical treatment hints towards genuine hurt feelings Deng has with the organization.

Remember that the Bulls also threw Deng under the bus several years ago when he had a stress fracture in his leg, and their doctors didn't find anything wrong with him and encouraged him to challenge himself physically.

"He has been restricted from high-level activity since [Feb. 28]," team physician Brian Cole was quoted as saying. "At this point, he will undergo 'active rest,' meaning that he will be encouraged to challenge himself physically, and if symptoms remain minimal, he will be allowed an expeditious return to play."

With the second major medical incident with Deng that he felt slighted and mistreated by the organization there are clearly some hurt feelings. I do believe that Deng legitimately loves playing for the Bulls, but there's no hometown discount, and the Bulls don't look like they're anxious to lock him up.

Chicago would have a considerable reason to sign Deng to an extension now if they were interested. An extension today would max out at three years, but an extension next summer would go for four seasons. It's easy to understand why the Bulls may not want to commit to Deng, but they'll be worse off if they commit next season.

Obviously things can change around with a very successful season by Deng, a championship, or simply not having a better option, but Deng will hit free agency, the Bulls didn't want to talk now, and I don't expect the talks to go well next season unless something awfully special happens this season.

Filed under: Players

Tags: chicago bulls, Luol Deng, nba


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  • If the Bulls' medical staff is so blatantly incompetent and mistreated him so horribly on TWO occasions, why would he even consider re-signing with the team?

    I'm sure Doug can confirm this, but aren't teams forbidden from negotiating with free agents after the season ends until July 1st?

    If so, Deng's agent is hilarious- after being told that the Bulls wouldn't negotiate until "after the season" (which means July 1st), he comes out and tries to sound like a bad-ass by acting as if it's he and his client who are saying, "you have to wait until July 1st, he is going to test the market".

    That's true, but the FO made that decision, not Deng and his agent.

    That's no different from asking a girl out, and when she says "No", you tell everyone "I'm going to stop hitting on her and look for another girl, at least for the next 2 months".

    It's kind of pathetic, actually. But great news for folks who don't want the Bulls to resign Deng anyway (without a hometown discount).

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    And I am one of those who do not want the Bulls to resign Deng, unless it is a real deal. Maybe not even then.

    Look, I like Deng and he won a lot of games for the Bulls. He is an above average player, but he was paid very well for it. Now the money is needed elsewhere. Even if Boozer is amnestied next summer, which I will believe when I see it, there still will not be enough for Deng plus Mirotic, unless Taj or someone else is traded.

    Plus money will be needed to extend Butler and to sign the 2014 !st round pick and, maybe, the Charlotte pick. And what if a good 2nd tier FA wants to come to Chicago? Put the money where it will do the most good.

  • Deng's feelings are hurt? Well as a Bulls fan, my feelings are hurt that he underperformed his contract prior to Thibs' arrival, that he never got surgery on the wrist, and then played in the Olympics which could only further aggravate the injury.

    The botched spinal tap is extremely disappointing if the Bulls' medical staff made that mistake (I think it was a local hospital, I wouldn't think sports medicine guys do spinal taps but I'm not sure), then I can understand his apprehension towards the organization, but for the most part they have paid and treated him extremely well.

    Regardless, I'd rather "lose assets for nothing" (wink-wink) than pay this guy more than $10MM a year to return to the Bulls.

  • Hey all,

    let's not get too excited about what Deng's agent is saying. The agent is paid to get Deng top dollar. He's paid to negotiate and represent Deng - not the Bulls. What's he supposed to do, lay his cards on the table and play nice with GarPax? No, he's going to use the media and try to persuade GarPax and all GMs and talking heads out there Deng is worthy of top dollar.

    One thing is clear, he did say that he loves Chicago and he loves playing for Thibs. Now, there is no hometown discount knowing Deng and how the last contract was negotiated. But, you'd have to think that short of insulting/low-balling Deng, he'd have to think twice about going somewhere else. The NBA is a lonely place when you are not contending... just ask Ben Gordon, Christian Leatner, etc...

    Deng is in a great system that highlights his talents and the Bulls are expected to get to the ECF (and the hope is the Finals) this year, at a minimum. In the NBA, there are only a half dozen teams where that is realistic.

    Hey, if the wrist is healed and Deng has his best or second best season, I'd pay him to stay depending on the alternatives, of course. You want Mirotic to come over for sure. You also need to resign Butler.

    I have no problem going 4 years if the price is right - $7 mil/yr? $10/yr if his shooting improves and he has a great year? He won't even be 29 until the playoffs start, so at the RIGHT PRICE he can be useful to the Bulls for 4 years beyond this season. At the right price, he can be traded, so the Bulls would be somewhat flexible still. If he wants too much and you are thinking about years 32, 33 and 34, LET HIM GO "FOR NOTHING" and use the cap space on alternative options.

    I like not signing him for now. See how Butler and Snell develop and see what happens next year. I love what Deng brings to the team, but he's not an above the rim star that excites the fans. He is not a #1 or ideally not even a #2 scoring option. Thus, I highly doubt that he gets other contract offers that blow him away unless he has his best season yet. (ie, not Iguodala/J.Smith $$)

  • In reply to Granby:

    Great post- I'd bet Deng learned from Gordon that while the money may still be green, the grass is far from being greener elsewhere. I think we all know that looking back, Gordon would have been much happier taking 5/40 from the Bulls than getting 5/50 in Detroit (or whatever the exact numbers were).

    It'll all come down to this: does Deng want an extra $3 million a year to play for a .500 team, or would he rather be paid less to be in a situation where he is competing for a championship every year? He's gonna see Snell all year, and know that if Snell can defend fairly well, the Bulls will easily let Deng go if the money isn't right.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    While I think Deng SHOULD have learned, I would not bet on it. There's a very good chance he wants the extra $3MM, or will buy what a bad team is selling, or overrates himself and believes he can contribute to turning a bad team around.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm still going with he DID learn, but you're very correct that it might not mean shit anyway, people learn but still do stupid stuff.

    I learned after the first two times I got divorced, but it didn't stop me from getting married a 3rd time. Deng could know that he's better off basketball-wise with the Bulls but choose to take the extra $10-15 million anyway.

  • The Bulls probably have in mind extending Jimmy Butler next fall. Depending on how JB performs, he could be wanting 10 million a year and Jimmy Butler is a natural small forward. I think the Bulls basically have decided to go for the younger Jimmy Butler instead of resigning a solid but declining Deng. It's a salary slot thing and you can't blame the Bulls. This is the reason when you have opportunities to sign players like Nate Robinson or Kevin Martin for good value, you do it. Anyway i like the idea of younger more athletic wings starting with Rose.

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Totally agree, the Bulls are keeping their fingers crossed that Snell and Butler are the starting wings of the future, Mirotic replaces the BozoHole next year, and whatever cap space we have next summer can be used to fortify the rotation with another quality wing and another bigman. While that plan is somewhat risky, and not necessarily likely to work out as they hope, I agree with their basic strategy for building the team that will surround Rose in what is fast approaching as the prime years of his career, basically starting this season or next.

    Still wish we could find a way to hoodwink Houston into giving us Asik back. Despite the cap space killing(for us, next summer) nature of the deal I would totally take Lin and Asik off their hands in exchange for the Hole. Is saving $14 million in cash next season(2014-15) while spending an extra $5 million this season enough of an incentive for them to make that deal, probably not if they can move Asik alone for a stretch 4 like Ryan Anderson.

    If you then let Deng walk next summer, you have essentially swapped Deng and the Hole for Asik, Lin and Mirotic. Is that a good move for the Bulls. Or at that point you could keep Deng and pay the repeater tax, not likely to happen but it is an option.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Asik would be nice but slick willy Morey will get a stretch 4 next to Howard. Maybe they entertain Asik for Gibson but want Anderson who i still think would compliment Rose well. Keep your fingers crossed that Dexter Pittman looks serviceable and plays solid D. I don't think Nazr's old body can hold up......great guy just not able to move and play d for that second unit like Thib's wanted. Supposedly the HOLE is in great shape and slimmed down, maybe he's motivated to get one more payday....we could see 18pts and 9 rbs if he smells that contract year creeping up.

  • I agree with Defensive Rebound 13.. Its about money and options. Signing Deng now would tie their hands quite a bit MORE.

    Bulls need to let the year play out. Too many variables when you add in Health, Mirotic, and Boozer Amnesty ?'s.

    I like Deng, but Bulls are Right to take a wait-and-see approach.


  • Seems to me that everybody is doing what is in their best interest, isn't that how the free(semi) market is supposed to work.

    It does appear from the agents statement that the bulls weren't even interested in offering him the 3 year extention(at any number). This might add some additional ill will to whatever negotiations take place next summer, but I doubt it makes a difference in the long run.

    My bet is that Deng emulates Devin Hester next summer, i.e He Gone.

  • I think every commenter today basically agrees on Deng. If resigning is a good deal for the Bulls, then it's OK - maybe. But if not, get more young talent.

    Both Mirotic and the Charlotte pick should give the team a boost, so FO, do NOT screw this up by once again overvaluing an asset and overpaying him. It looks like they have learned that lesson.If another team wants to overpay him, that will just handicap the competition.

    BTW, Houston is trying to trade Asik now, and apparently teams are not beating down the door for him.

  • I don't understand this "let's get Asik back" stuff.

    The Bulls, just like 29 other teams, aren't going to pay $8 million a year for a back-up center with zero offensive game. The Bulls already have an All-Star center who they love (and rightly so).

    When you have Noah, Boozer at $15 million is no better or worse of a financial situation than Asik, who would play 15 minutes tops if he were a Bull right now. Noah and Asik cannot play together, just like Howard and Asik cannot play together- if they could, HOU wouldn't be looking to move Omer, they'd keep him.

    But at $8 million a year as a 30 minute a night center, Asik is an outstanding bargain.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Agree. Asik's figures were inflated in Houston due to being the only rebounder. However, the talk was also that the coaches were getting a lot more out of him. If true, that says something about the Bulls failing to develop their kids!

    So, maybe the Bulls coaching staff needs to work on Teague, Snell, and Murphy this year to learn what they can be for the future. The answer could indicate which direction to take next summer. This would have the added advantage of resting the starters more.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Oh brother, Asik's continuing development is yet another indictment against the Bulls? They're the ones who developed him into an $8MM per year player and it was clear to all that the arrow was still pointed up on him.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Actually, I don't think that Asik's numbers were inflated at all, in fact you could easily argue that they were understated. He barely played 30 minutes a night, and maybe less in the second half of the season as McHale fell in love with the unknown and undersized Greg Smith, who actually rebounded fairly well.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah I don't think his numbers are inflated at all, they're about the same per-minutes as they were when he was a Bull. I'm sure his rebound % went up a little with Houston not having Noah and Boozer combining for 18-20 rebounds a night, but I don't think his numbers really surprise anyone once you see that he got starter's minutes for the first time ever (consistently).

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Asik's rebounding % should have shot up in Houston since he was the primary rebounder. That is what I meant by being inflated. If it did not, that is telling.

    This is kind of like the 4th scorer on OKC moving to Podunk City where he becomes the 1st scoring option and a starter. Of course his numbers and points scored per game should shoot up. But is the guy really any better?.

    Of more interest to me was Asik's offensive production. That also should have increased just with more minutes and rebounds. However, did he become a significantly better scorer? If so, and if that was due to coaching, then that is also telling. If not, then he basically is what he always was.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    OK, yeah we're saying the same thing then. His defensive rebound % went way from 25.1% to 31.0%, and overall he went up from 20.1% to 22.0%.

    But his rebounds per 36 went from 13.0 to 14.0, pretty minimal. He had 1/2 as many blocks, but he lowered his fouls per 36. But that's to be expected, he never had to worry about foul trouble as a Bull, he never played long enough to foul out. And he did a great job of lowering his fouls.

    I think he just got more easy shots in transition playing a faster pace, plus probably an extra pick-and-roll or two per game. When I saw the Rockets (which wasn't often), he looked like the same player as when he was a Bull.

    Which is a big compliment, he was good enough in 14 min/game as a Bull to get that 3/25 contract as a free agent.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Asik is going to be an $8 million dollar cap hit for each of the next 2 seasons. The Hole will be $15.3 million this and $16.8 next(if not amnestied). Asik will make $5 million cash this season and $15 million next. The Hole will make $15.3 million cash this season and $16.8 million cash next if not amnestied, or $5.6 million per for the next 3 years if he is amnestied. That works out to a cap savings of about $16 million and a cash savings of about $12 million without factoring in tax consequences which will massively tilt the numbers in Asiks favor.

    So there are both cap and cash savings to swapping out the Hole for Asik, nevermind on court basketball value of the championship worthy variety. That is why the only way that I could see Houston doing a swap would be if we also took Lins contract off of their hands, essentially wiping out any and all cap and cash savings for us, i.e. the cost of doing business(dumping the Hole)

    While I agree that coming back to the Bulls is less than ideal from Asik's standpoint, I still contend that I would rather have a defense and rebounding frontcourt rotation of Noah, Asik and Gibson, than any rotation featuring the Hole, who has been(statistically) a proven liability on both ends of the floor as a Bull, not just massively so on the defensive end.

    Add Mirotic to the mix next season, and I love that front court. Without Asik(or a reasonable facsimile thereof) we are not particularly big or deep up front. We are basically relying on both Noah and Taj to maintain near perfect health throughout the entire season, which they have never done to date. 3 guys splitting the minutes at center and power forward is 32 minutes each, a number which Taj has never come close to playing. Noah already plays minutes at power forward due to the mere presence of the Hole. Is it a perfect situation, probably not, but it is way better than what we have now. If Taj is worth $8-9 million per then as this past season proved Asik is easily worth that much.

    With Rose and 2 quality wing scorers(assuming that we ever find 2) you don't need an offensive center, especially in the style played in today's NBA. Is it a perfect fit, probably not, but for a coach like Thibs it should be more than workable if not ideal.

    Look, I know it is extremely unlikely that we ever get him back, but as long as I am stuck watching the Hole, I have every right to continue to lament his loss and what this Bulls team might have accomplished with Asik and without the Hole.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The best advice for the FO about the Boozer signing is, Learn from your mistakes! This has handicapped the Bulls for 5 years! It now appears they have engraved that lesson on stone - so no extension for Deng.

    Better to underbid for a guy and not get him than to overpay and get him! If some team wants to overpay Deng, let them. We've been down that road, and it's not scenic.

    Without the Boozer signing, the Bulls could have traded Noah for Carmelo, kept Asik, and had the money for another top FA. What might that team have looked like?

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