Things keep getting worse for the Chicago Bulls, as injuries keep them from fulfilling even some of their potential, and causing a circulation of rumors to emerge once again, most of them regarding the future of Luol Deng and the chances of him getting traded this season.
Deng turns into a free agent this summer, and it’s been quite some time that the option of using him as a trading chip has been weighed. Deng, with Rose out of the picture, is the team’s best player next to Joakim Noah, but he’s probably not worth the $14 million he is being paid, and whatever 8-digit contract he’s looking for to get in the offseason.
The Bulls, despite being one of the most profitable teams in the league, aren’t too excited about the luxury tax. Rose, Noah, Boozer and Gibson are all on big deals. Jimmy Butler is struggling this season with injury, but overall, he’s perceived as the next Deng, only cheaper and younger, more worthy of a sizable extension.
However, there are quite a few issues stopping the Bulls from trading Deng at the moment, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, strengthening the opinion that Chicago are leaning towards trying to re-sign Deng during the summer, despite not reaching an agreement on an extension before the deadline expired.
Dealing expiring contracts just isn’t what it used to be, especially with the luxury tax and more than half the league already getting ready for the lottery instead of thinking about the playoffs. There’s also the very good chance the Bulls are simply waiting for better offers, and are trying to make it seem like they’re playing with Deng as hard to get.
Deng is still an All-Star when healthy, and with the Bulls not thinking about blowing things up but simply making the best with the cards they’re dealt, trading Deng just doesn’t make sense unless it yields them a very good point guard, which won’t happen unless some front office goes really crazy. However, it also doesn’t make sense that Deng remains on this team after this season, unless his demands are a lot lower than everyone expects them to be.