The time has come for the Chicago Bulls to pull the trigger on the seemingly never-ending rumors of a Luol Deng trade. After point guard Derrick Rose was lost for yet another entire season, Chicago must begin thinking about the future — period.
Look, I am a huge fan of Deng and have been for a while. I understand he’s the “glue” guy in Chicago. I understand he’s been a fan favorite for quite some time and continues to be underrated in most of his abilities. But, this year he’s taken a step back so far. He’s only shooting 43 percent from the field and a measly 18 percent from beyond the arc. On a team that needs an offensive presence now more than ever, Deng will not be able to live up to that type of player.
Chicago ranks 26th in points per game this year. Is there anyone currently on the roster who can take over a game if needed? Absolutely not; it’s unfortunate, but Chicago has nobody fitting that role without Rose. Sure, if anyone would be needed to step up in his absence, it’s Deng. But, like you’ve seen, he hasn’t done a good enough job offensively.
The Bulls will always be a top-10 defensive team as long as Tom Thibodeau is coach. That’s a given. Without Deng, that tradition will continue because of what coach Thibs has instilled in his guys and how his coaching philosophy is taken to so well by all of his players.
A couple of the guys that have been rumored to be thought of as possibilities in a Deng trade are both Evan Turner and Dion Waiters. Of course, Waiters has had what they’ve called “chemistry issues” with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Turner is on his way out of the Philadelphia 76ers when his deal is up.
Regardless if the Bulls were to get Turner or Waiters among others, they have two guys like Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell there for depth. If Turner were to come to Chicago and then decide to leave after his last year is up next season, so be it — the Bulls will have youth, depth and even more cash to spend in the end. If Waiters came to the Bulls, Chicago would save money as well as increase their depth at the 2-3 positions with a guy that can score the basketball.
In the end, Deng can’t be a Bull come the start of next season. Why not get something in return for him right now and see how that player works out? This year will not end with a title for the Bulls — it’s that simple. At this point, Chicago has to be solely focused on next year and to begin that venture, Deng must be traded.