The Chicago Bulls organization and Luol Deng have been trying to hammer out a contract extension since their season ended in May. Conversations never reached an agreement because of financial differences. Now the Bulls enter this season with uncertainty about their All-Star forward’s future.
Deng means a lot to the Bulls. Coach Tom Thibodeau calls Deng his do-everything type of player. Whatever Coach Thibs needs from him, he provides it with no complaints. Thibodeau plays Deng over 40 minutes a night, which gets criticism from fans, but Deng thrives in that role of being the guy leading the league in minutes played.
He plays multiple positions, defends some of the best perimeter players and is a very good offensive weapon. So the question is, why can’t the Bulls and Deng’s representatives agree on a contract extension?
It’s quite shocking that Deng did not get a contract extension. Bulls GM Gar Foreman has said before that Deng is very important and beneficial to their long-term plans. This type of statement should have been icing on the cake to get Deng a new contract. Deng took a stand, and will go through the free agency process.
Deng will be sought after by many teams in free agency. The 2014 free agency class will be huge, with players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. After those names are off the market, Deng will be in the next tier of free agents.
The Bulls should do everything in their power to keep Deng from becoming a free agent in 2014. He’s a two-time All-Star and is valued highly by his teammates. It will be hard to replace a talent like that.