Luol Deng is a two-time All-Star who is set to join the loaded 2014 free agent class.
Deng is entering the final year of his contract, and if not for an illness suffered at the end of last season, the nine year veteran would probably have been extended by now.
Deng got sick, Jimmy Butler emerged at a cheaper rate, and now the wait and see game will be played. Luol for his part would prefer to focus on basketball, and doesn’t want to talk about his contract, or lack thereof.
I’ll try not to be rude, but honestly, I would rather not talk about it,” Deng said. “I would rather play.”
Deng’s six-year, $71 million deal expires after this season. Herb Rudoy, Deng’s agent, said recently that Deng would “definitely explore free agency” after general manager Gar Forman informed him no extension would occur this offseason.
Sources said cursory discussions produced such a gulf that counteroffers weren’t exchanged.
“We know our potential is great, so I just have to focus on us as a team and how good we can be,” Deng said. “I think everything will take care of itself. I know it’s going to come up here and there — there is always individual stuff — but honestly, I just want to put all my attention into the team.”
I think Deng’s future hinges on the development of Jimmy Butler and what the Bulls need to finally dethrone the Heat.