Skip to content

Report: Thibodeau not happy Deng could walk after season

Sep 18, 2013, 10:52 AM EDT

Luol Deng AP

While everyone around the Bulls plays it down, let’s just say it’s accepted as fact around the rest of the league that coach Tom Thibodeau and Bulls GM Gar Forman (and the rest of the front office) don’t see things the same way. There is naturally some tension in any coach/GM relationship — a coach wants assets he can win with now, a GM has to think cap and budget and three years down the road — but Chicago’s relationship has some real issues.

The latest issue could be Luol Deng.

The Bulls cut off contract extension talks with him and Deng is going to test free agency next summer. Thibodeau sees Deng as central to his system and the team.

So, tension follows. Joe Cowley at the Sun Times adds some color to this.

But at least one source feels that would change if forward Luol Deng is traded or allowed to walk into free agency without an extension next summer.

“Ask Tom how important he thinks Luol is,’’ the source said. “How happy do you think he would be with that decision?…”

“You need rebounding, he’ll give you rebounding,’’ Thibodeau said of Deng late last season. “If he’s not shooting well, he gives you great defense. No matter how the game is going, he’s always going to be there late for you, no matter if it’s pick-and-roll offense, swinging the ball, moving without the ball, making a great random cut from the weak side. He has great impact on winning. You can’t ask anything more of one of your best players.’’

Bulls management has looked at the Heat, the Thunder and other top teams around the league and seemed to be aiming for clearing out some space to add another elite player next to Rose. If Deng walks and they amnesty Carlos Boozer, they Bulls will have the cap space to target the deep crop of free agents this summer expected to include everyone from LeBron James (not likely to land in Chicago) to guys like Danny Granger and Zach Randolph. It’s a deep class, but it’s also a risk in trying to get a guy on the open market. The Bulls could also see what they could get in return for a Deng trade.

Thibodeau also knows he hadn’t seen what this group of players can do healthy in the playoffs — they were just hitting their stride and seemed destined for a showdown with the Heat two seasons ago when Derrick Rose injured his knee. Now this one season will become the test of how good this Bulls rotation will be.

It may also be the one and only time we get to see it. Which isn’t likely to make Thibodeau happy.

Latest Posts
  1. Ricky Rubio never talked to Kevin Love about staying with Timberwolves

    Sep 14, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic

    “If he wanted to leave, there’s no reason to talk to him about it,” Rubio said.

  2. USA celebrates gold medal with lots of dancing (except Derrick Rose)

    Sep 14, 2014, 6:59 PM EDT

    James Harden James Harden

    The celebration was more entertaining than most of the game.

  3. Too much World Cup MVP Kyrie Irving for Serbia to handle as USA wins gold easily 129-92

    Sep 14, 2014, 5:18 PM EDT

    2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Day Fourteen Getty Images

    With the win the USA is automatically qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

  4. Brooklyn Nets top 10 plays of 2014 season (VIDEO)

    Sep 14, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game Five Getty Images

    Lots of Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston, both of whom left Brooklyn this summer in free agency.

  5. Report: Earl Clark gets training camp contract with Memphis

    Sep 14, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Earl Clark, Miroslav Raduljica AP

    It’s a long shot, but he’s at least got his foot in the door somewhere.

  6. Hornets coach says team needs to add ‘another big guy’ following Noah Vonleh’s injury

    Sep 14, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Noah Vonleh Noah Vonleh

    Vonleh will miss all of the preseason, and his new head coach believes that will cost him an early opportunity to enter the rotation.

  7. FIBA not expecting to change World Cup format following Australia’s intentional loss

    Sep 14, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    2014-FIBA-Basketball-WorldCup

    It was obvious that Australia threw the game against Angola to try to avoid Team USA in the tournament for as long as possible.

  8. Gordon Hayward calls time with Team USA a ‘confidence booster’

    Sep 14, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Hayward attended training camp, but didn’t make the final cut to be a part of the 12-man roster.

  9. Carmelo Anthony reiterates he’s excited to play in triangle offense

    Sep 14, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors Getty Images

    Anthony can thrive in the triangle — if he moves the ball.

  10. FIBA World Cup USA vs. Serbia preview: Serbia no pushover but Americans should grab gold

    Sep 14, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Day Eleven Getty Images

    Serbia looks on paper to be just another speed bump between the USA and gold.

  11. Derrick Rose on his FIBA World Cup performance: ‘I would give it an A’

    Sep 13, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Derrick Rose Derrick Rose

    Rose has averaged 5.4 points per game on 27.3 percent shooting.

  12. France beats Lithuania to win World Cup bronze

    Sep 13, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Nicolas Batum, Jonas Valanciunas Nicolas Batum, Jonas Valanciunas

    Bronze was a quality finish for the defending European champions.

  13. New Hawks CEO posts open letter to fans: ‘We are very sorry’

    Sep 13, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Danny Ferry Danny Ferry

    Read the entire letter from Atlanta’s new CEO, which details plans on how he intends to change the team culture.

  14. Carmelo Anthony says nobody would want to play for Hawks

    Sep 13, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Anthony was very direct in his assessment of the racially insensitive remarks made by the team’s GM and ownership.

  15. Rudy Gay upset over ‘dirty play’ that caused him to suffer a fractured jaw in Team USA’s win over Lithuania

    Sep 13, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    DeMarcus Cousins caught an elbow too, and the teams had to be separated once the game was over.

Featured video

How has sale of Hawks made other NBA owners nervous?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Ferry (2942)
  2. D. Rose (2829)
  3. J. Valanciunas (2237)
  4. L. James (2053)
  5. K. Bryant (1996)
  1. G. Monroe (1834)
  2. P. George (1817)
  3. K. Irving (1768)
  4. C. Billups (1695)
  5. R. Allen (1463)