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British officials ticked Bulls tried to dissuade Deng from Olympics

May 28, 2012, 9:58 AM EDT

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From the start, Luol Deng has been clear about what he wants to do — his wrist may need surgery but he was going to play through it and be part of Great Britain’s Olympic basketball team, the way he played through it for the Bulls at the end of the season. Even if that meant surgery in August would keep him out for the start of the Bulls season.

Deng met with Bulls officials this last and there were reports they pressured him to have the surgery sooner and miss the Olympics so he would be back for training camp, but eventually they cleared him to play in the games.

How it went down has ticked off some officials from Great Britain, including the performance director for their basketball program Chris Spice. Here is what he told the Chicago Tribune (via

“Luol Deng is hugely committed to the British Basketball program and he has maintained this stance despite recent pressure for him not to play after injuring his wrist during the highly-demanding shortened NBA season,” Spice’s statement said. “We admire and support his stance. Luol is a true professional and manages his body extremely well as shown by the high amount of minutes he was able to play for his club after sustaining the injury in January.”

There are a few issues in play here. For one, the Bulls will be without Derrick Rose through training camp and at least the first couple months of the season as he recovers from knee surgery. Because of that, they want Deng playing and not on the shelf, too.

But the CBA does not let the Bulls stop him from playing. For the Great Britain side that is the host of the games this is the biggest stage their program has ever been on and they need Deng (as well as other NBA’s on the side such as Ben Gordon and Byron Mullens).

Then there is the insurance issue. Because of Deng’s wrist and his big NBA contract ($13.3 million next season) it’s going to cost Great Britain a lot of money to have Deng on the team. Like $400,000 according to the London Telegraph. Again Spice:

“(It) is always expensive due his high value, and due to the back exclusion placed on him by the NBA’s insurers some years ago,” Spice said. “Our medical expert opinion remains that his back is no worse than others in the NBA but we have had to continue to cover this as we are contracted to do. Unfortunately, we have had no support from the NBA, which remains a constant disappointment. His wrist situation will make this exorbitant premium even more expensive and we will have to make sacrifices to all our other programs if we are to make this happen. It is difficult, but there is only one Luol Deng and there is only one London 2012 Olympic Games.”

Bottom line is it is happening, Deng will be there marching in the Opening Ceremonies and suiting up for Great Britain on July 28. The team most likely not advance out of the group stage of play.

Then Deng will be re-evaluated and surgery will be discussed.

  1. bullysix - May 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Who cares what the Brits think about the Bulls attempts to get Deng to miss the Olympics the Bulls have 13-14 mil invested in him while Britian has nothing.

    I don’t understand why all the crying about the NBA or Bulls providing nothing towards insurance coverage Britian wants him to play then out forth the money.

    • adzs - May 28, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Really Britain didn’t invest anything in him? How about a life free from a war torn and dangerous country, safety, peace and opportunity for his family and the chance to succeed in sport; Now thats what i call priceless (not an advert for mastercard :D)…..

  2. cdins - May 28, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Everybody thinks Rose will be back by next year. Not gonna happen. And if it does he wont be 100

    • neeciekay - May 28, 2012 at 2:47 PM

      And you received your medical degree/inside analysis of Derrick Rose’s medical records and progression from where?? You don’t know how strong he will come back, you only sit there and hope and pray to your false gods, that he doesn’t come back full strength. So many evil people in this world. . .go troll elswhere, HATER!!

    • comeonnowguys - May 28, 2012 at 8:14 PM

      What do you mean by next year?

      Because if you think “everyone’s” saying he’s going to be back for the regular season opener, then you’re putting incorrect words in “everyone’s” mouths.

      Even the biggest meatball in Chicagoland has had to have accepted the fact Rose is going to miss a good chunk of next year. Personally, I’d rather he just shelve it for the year. Barring a major overhaul, this team will be fighting for their playoff lives without Rose and Deng for a few months.

  3. diamondmo33 - May 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Bullysix, the bottom line is deng wants to play for his country!!! What’s your problem with that? Why should they
    Have to pay? Does the united states pay for it’s Olympic participants?

    • gmen4life33 - May 28, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      he said pay INSURANCE. the Brits are upset the NBA isnt covering the 400k INSURANCE on Deng. nobody said for the Brits to pay Deng to play, just pay his insurance in case get injured.

      Bullysix was saying Brits shouldnt care what the Bulls said to Deng, he wants to play so he is playing. But why are they crying about paying his standard insurance (given he is already injured)

  4. dondada10 - May 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    The U.K. isn’t paying Deng. No Olympic athlete gets paid. They have to pay an insurance company a premium to cover Deng’s salary to the Bulls if he get’s hurt. 400K to insure ~13 mil.

  5. LilTmac2003 - May 28, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    The Bulls have invested 14 million in Luol Deng next season. Our head coach uses Deng to his full capabilities and is his most favorite player.

    Without Rose for the first half of next season, Bulls will need to rely on all other options and for players to step up.

    They also want Deng to be fully healthy so he can he his most effective self. This requires surgery for his wrist along with healing time + therapy.

    British officials are mad because Bulls wanted to talk with Deng. What?!!?!?!?!?!!?

    Anyways, I think Deng should play for them in the Olympics and afterwards get the surgery. If he needs to miss some time, than so be it. Essentially, health beat us last year so let’s not make it the same reason this year.

  6. neeciekay - May 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    As a Bulls fan, I honestly don’t want Lou to play in the Olympics this year. It will only prolong his surgery/rehab on his wrist. I know we as fans can be relatively selfish in these matters, however, I would urge Lou to consider the situation, with Derrick out for most of next year, we will need his leadership on the floor, at full strength. I know he wants to represent his adoptive country, and I get that. I just wish that he’d consider the current state of the Bulls organization in which he has committed himself to (and their committment to him), as well. Either way it goes, I will root for Lou and respect the choice he makes. I only hope it doesn’t hurt our Bulls team in the long run.

    • gmen4life33 - May 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

      -Missing a month or two of the NBA regular season (one of 12+ he will play).


      -Missing the entire Olympics for your Mother Country, when they are HOSTING the games, and you are their BEST player.

      Sorry man, its a no-brainer. If he was the type to turn his back on his Country just so he could get healthy faster, he would have done the same thing to the Bulls this year and not played through his injury. You liked his attitude when he put his team before his own health, you have to also like his attitude of putting his country before his own health.

      • comeonnowguys - May 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM

        That’s all fine and dandy, but Deng’s choice is not the issue here.

        It’s the fact that the Brits are outwardly pissed that Chicago would have the gall and express their displeasure with the decision.

        It’s been clear for a while that this is what Deng had always wanted to do, so for England to come out and get publicly ruffled for basically no reason reflects poorly on them.

      • gmen4life33 - May 28, 2012 at 8:56 PM

        wasnt commenting on the on the Brits, was clearly commenting on nee’s post on a Bulls fan POV (which had nothing to do with the Brits problem with the Bulls)

  7. glink123 - May 28, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    interesting. blowing $400,000 on an insurance policy, just to get blown out in the first round and sent home.

  8. kavika6 - May 29, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    Is he really British or is he playing for them because of some technicality?

  9. floridascuba1 - Jul 4, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Deng is more valuable to the bulls than Rose.

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