On Monday afternoon, a rumor emerged that stated that the Chicago Bulls could potentially shop Luol Deng to the Washington Wizards in exchange for the No. 3 pick and Emeka Okafor. Those rumors were shot down almost immediately and less than 24 hours after it appeared that Deng was on the trading block, Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the two sides are actually engaged in talks about a contract extension.
The 6-foot-9 small forward has one year remaining on his current contract and he is scheduled to be paid $14.3 million during the 2013-14 season. Some fans believe that the best move that the Bulls can make is to trade the 28-year old, but that might not be the case.
Sure, Deng was banged up during the Bulls’ postseason run this past spring, but who on that roster wasn’t? Deng is an asset right now and he could be an easy sell for Chicago, but that doesn’t mean that the Bulls would be smart to trade him. Another worry is the emergence of Jimmy Butler and how the back court rotation would work, especially with the return of star point guard, Derrick Rose.
Butler is coming into his own, but he averaged 8.7 points per game this past season. You can’t necessarily compare him to being the future of the small forward position in Chicago. Deng has earned that role. If you are comparing assets, Butler may be the better asset next summer, especially given the team has the pick-up option on him during the summer of 2014.
The Bulls have an expensive core, adding in the contracts of both Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, but what we saw this past postseason from Chicago was the fight, which can be mainly linked to the work of head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Thibodeau is a fan of Deng, he’s going to know how to set the lineups more than anyone else would and if he wants Deng in his system — you should know that it’ll work out. The Bulls would be wise to keep Deng, that’s the bottom line.
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