It seems like every other day there’s a change in direction the Chicago Bulls are taking in regards to Luol Deng and his future with the team. At the moment, maybe because of some strong performances, the Bulls are once again talking about being interested to re-sign Deng this offseason, although it all might be some big smoke screen in order to increase his trade value.
The facts? Deng is coming off a deal paying him $14.2 million on the final year of the contract. The Bulls aren’t going to pay him that much money, and probably no other team will. The Bulls didn’t really make an effort to get an extension done before the deadline passed, which leaves Deng a bit insulted, and making him want to test the waters once his contract runs out and see what the rest of the league is offering him before getting back to the table with the Bulls.
Like it or not, and it doesn’t matter what Bulls general manager Gar Forman says to radio shows, the most likely scenario is Deng being traded. Forman might talk about Deng being a big part of their past and future, but it simply makes more financial sense to trade him.
Unlike expectations, the Chicago Bulls aren’t going to win the NBA title this season, having yet another big Derrick Rose injury thwarting their plans. The prospect of Deng being traded was always up in the air, and had more to do with how close the Bulls will be to the Heat and Pacers at the end of this season, and had less to do with his scoring average and performance quality.
So if Chicago can get some draft picks for Deng if they feel his presence won’t really make any difference to their chances at the end of the season, all the talk about loyalty and his piece in the puzzle won’t matter. It’s better for the Bulls to talk him up now and make it seem like he’s more valuable to them than he really is than announce to the world that he’s going to be traded come February.