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Luol Deng would rather not talk about the contract extension he isn’t getting from Bulls

Sep 28, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

deng

Luol Deng is a two-time All-Star who’s embedded himself as an important part of the identity of the Chicago Bulls.

Entering the final year of his contract, however, the team seems willing to let the season play out without securing him to a long-term extension.

Speaking at the team’s media day on Friday, Deng didn’t want to discuss the fact that he and the team are so far apart that negotiations on a new deal haven’t even bothered to get started.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“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.”

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau seemed to believe it, saying “Luol will focus on playing,” while the team’s general manager, Gar Forman, said he isn’t worried about the lack of a contract extension interfering with Deng’s ability to contribute in the upcoming season.

“I don’t anticipate that,” Forman said. “Luol and I talked (Thursday). I think he’s in a great place both physically and mentally. I think he’s ready to help lead this team.”

Normally you worry about players in a contract year — Chris Bosh admitted recently that when he focused on his impending free agency in Toronto, it “messed him up.”

But it really shouldn’t matter in Deng’s case.

The focus in Chicago will be on Derrick Rose all season long, and next summer’s free agent deal won’t be Deng’s first payday — he’ll have totaled over $81 million in career earnings by the time his contract is up, making the prospect of potentially being forced to play elsewhere next season just slightly easier to swallow.

  1. Anoesis - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Next year L.A. has a bit of money available.

    • cmehustle - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      I would love for LA to overpay another roll player with all of their ‘cap space’

  2. earpaniac - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I like him, I just don’t think he’s worth &14 million a year.

    • cmehustle - Sep 28, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      He’s not. A very good player. Not for that much.

  3. monsterofyourgirlsmidway - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Cool so let’s just play this guy 48 minutes a game for 4 years and not re-sign him.. You stay classy Chicago

  4. pantsfreezone - Sep 28, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Just another sign that Thibs is going to kill Deng this season.

  5. zoomy123 - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Deng is worth 10-12 M/year; about the same thing Iguodala got from GSW.

  6. casualcommenter - Sep 29, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    In theory, you’d worry about leaving a guy without a deal in a contract year because of the possibility that he hijacks your offense at times in order to put up better numbers.

    I don’t think Deng fits that archetype of player who would do that. However, I feel like Deng’s asking price likely goes up after this year compared to now, given that last season, he spent significant time injured and his efficiency dropped without Rose.

  7. lhollis74 - Oct 1, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Chicago’s owner has always been an a-hole. From the time they let the back to back leading rebounder to leave (Horace Grant) in order to sign Toni Kukoc, to the well known fact that he and Jordan routinely pasted each other within the facility and wouldn’t even say “hello” to one another, to the most egregious of not offering Jordan a job within his organization following his retirement. This is just more of the same type of a-hole behavior from him, I mean c’mon, not even an offer? Not even lowball? This is precisely why Rose took his time to make sure he was 100% healthy, franchise history has shown him, and anyone else whose paid attention, that he better take good care of himself, cuz Krause doesn’t show any amount of respect to ANY player ever!

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