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Luol Deng says he’d love to play his whole career in Chicago

Nov 7, 2013, 12:33 AM EDT

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Luol Deng is a two-time All-Star member of the Chicago Bulls, and an important part of what the team does on both ends of the floor on a nightly basis.

But he’s in the final year of his contract, and the Bulls have been unwilling to discuss an extension to this point, meaning that Deng is playing in a contract year and could be gone once the season is over as he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

We’ve heard throughout the process that Deng would prefer to remain in Chicago, and he reiterated those comments before Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers.

From ESPN Chicago:

“I definitely want to stay here,” Deng said Wednesday at the morning shootaround before the Bulls’ game at Indiana. “I would love to play here my whole career.”

Despite his desire, Deng understands he may not get his wish. With the Bulls refusing to discuss an extension with Deng this summer, the small forward will become a free agent in 2014. …

“I’ve seen players in the past who wanted to stay with their team and it didn’t work out,” said Deng, who has played only for the Bulls since being drafted by Phoenix and traded to Chicago on a draft-night deal in 2004. “At the end of the day, I can’t control that.”

What Deng is saying is only true to a certain extent, but the sentiment is understandable.

If he were to agree to stay in Chicago for a contract less than what he could earn elsewhere on the open market, there’s a pretty solid chance that the organization would welcome him back with open arms.

But if Deng is seeking another payday in the neighborhood of the max deal he may be able to receive by signing elsewhere, then he’s right — the chances of staying with the Bulls at that point begin to diminish fairly rapidly.

Deng could choose to sign a long-term contract below market value to stay in Chicago if that’s truly what he wanted to do. But money talks, as do players’ actions, so we’ll see just how true these comments ring when Deng becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

  1. fballlvr22 - Nov 7, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    As a Bulls fan, I love Luol. But if he wants a max contract, he’s going to be the odd man out. It’s time for the Bulls to make a move. Whether it’s Lu leaving of amnestying Boozer. This roster is not going to get it done.

  2. coolj23 - Nov 7, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    I luv my bulls, but what you said is so true. This roster with good defense and no offensive fire power just can’t get it done.(SEE BEARS!!!)

    • blueintown - Nov 7, 2013 at 7:29 AM

      Not to go all profootballtalk on probasketballtalk, but did you really just describe the Bears as having a good defense and no offense?

      • chitownmatt - Nov 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        I think he was talking, “historically”.

  3. legend30 - Nov 7, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    The Bulls have two options: trade Deng for a secondary scorer, or stick with this team for one more year. By judging by their body-language, I feel like the players are bored. Thibs approaches the same thing every year — defense. Thibs keeps mentioning the importance of defense, but when they are getting the same results every year, it become very frustrating for the players. Thibs is a tremendous coach, but let’s face it he losses his voice every game, he needs to relax a little and have some fun. There’s 82 games, but Thibs treat each of those games the same. Lighten up a little, even Popovich has some fun once a while. Relax, Thibs.

    • belleby123 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      He learned from Doc Rivers, who loses his voice every game too.

  4. saint1997 - Nov 7, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    Bulls still have holes to me but I can see them very close to filling them. With Booz and Deng gone they’d have great cap room to sign a sweet shooting 2 or 3 as well as Gibson and the European stud Mirotic sharing minutes next to Noah

  5. Kevin S. - Nov 7, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Hey Luol, if you take less money to stay in Chicago, do yourself a favor and make damn sure it comes with a no-trade clause. Players who take sub-market contracts find themselves as really valuable trade pieces starting December 15.

  6. belleby123 - Nov 7, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    There is no reason to let Deng go. If Jimmy Butler keeps improving and Tony Snell comes into his own the Bulls will be sitting pretty. Now they just need to start winning this year.

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