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Luol Deng says Bulls made take-it-or-leave-it offer, he did not ask for $15 million

Jan 8, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT

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How badly did the Chicago Bulls really want to keep Luol Deng? The two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension last summer.

It had been reported since Deng was traded to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum that the Bulls had made a last ditched take-it-or-leave-it offer to their All-Star small forward and he turned it down. A lot of rumors have sprouted up around that meeting and around the summer negotiations between the Bulls and Deng on an extension.

Deng tried to straighten everything out speaking with the Chicago Tribune.

He’s not bitter. And despite reports, he never asked for $15 million a year from the Bulls, who traded Deng to Cleveland on Monday in a financial move to create flexibility for the future.

“My thing is in the summer, I never came with a number,” Deng told the Tribune. “I heard on the radio that I asked for 15 (million). I would never ask for a number. We came to (general manager) Gar (Forman) last summer and we wanted to sit down and talk. And Gar didn’t want to talk. They felt like they wanted to wait and see how everything goes with Derrick (Rose).

“Three days before the trade, Gar called me upstairs and put three years, $30 million on the table. Take it or leave it. No negotiation. I said no and that was it. But 15? That’s the only thing that upset me. I’m not upset with the organization. I want everyone to understand that. If I was a GM, would I make that move? Maybe.”

Deng went on to say he wanted to stay a Bull his entire career, it just didn’t work out.

The Bulls made business decisions, both in the summer when they didn’t want to talk extension and in the trade talks. That three-year offer was one the Bulls knew Deng would reject, which is why they put it on the table.

Thibodeau can’t be happy with this, but the Bulls made a smart decision to retool on the fly over the next couple years and contend again.

As for Deng, it will be interesting to see what he draws on the open market — he brings strong defensive skills and can work as a second, ideally third, offensive option on a good team. But he needs to be with the right star and there are questions how well the 29-year-old will age. My guess at his price point is probably more than $10 million a year, but not the $14.3 he made this season. Something like four-years, $48 million, and a number of teams may offer that. Deng will have options.

  1. rdav29 - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Similar to Iguodala

  2. knicksmets - Jan 8, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    I feel bad for him still, he gave his all and he still had to leave. Hope he finds success with the Cavs he deserves it, seems like a good player without any drama. Would love if my team had a player like him

    • chapmanb2014 - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      Feel bad for him? I find it difficult to feel bad for somebody that can afford to refuse 30 million dollars and actually leave feeling insulted that they were offered such a small amount.

    • smooth1js - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:52 AM

      Don’t feel bad for people making millions of dollars. What I read in this article is:
      A. The press are a bunch of liars who made up this whole $15 million number to make the Bulls look bad.
      B. Luol Deng has a greedy agent who chose money over Deng’s desire to stay in Chicago.
      C. Loul Deng is now complaining because he got traded to the team that was destroyed a few years back by a greedy LeBron James.

      It’s a business and people will put money over personal interest (especially an agent). Luol Deng cannot complain about where he was traded without vilifying himself in Cleveland, so he does the next best thing, males the Bulls look bad as is the same with the media who will make up things just to get the negative readers to tune in. Deng was a great player for the Bulls, but his agent wanted more money than was being offered and now he’s a Cavalier. Good luck with that Luol! Next time you want something, don’t say “no”!

  3. legend30 - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    I think he would be a perfect fit for the Mavs.

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      He would be a perfect fit on most teams. He’s a very good player who is willing to adjust his play to fit his teammates.

  4. stephenolszewski - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    I think The Cavs made a excellent move by getting Deng a move that would rejuvenate a young basketball team. Not saying Cavs will win a championship but they’ll make a push for the 7th or 8th seed and considering how bad the Cavs have looked past 2-3 years that’s a big jump.

  5. zickhead - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    I feel bad for Deng too. This guy busted his ass day in and day out for this team and in the end they show him no appreciation. I hope Bulls never win a title or get to the ECF as long as this GM is still there.

  6. metalhead65 - Jan 9, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    even if the cavs do not make the playoffs they are a better team today than they were before the trade. they got rid of the whiny over paid loser and bad attitude in bynum and return picked a true professional basketball player. this is a guy the young players on the team can look up to and learn from on what it takes to be a professional on and off the court. he may not be a true superstar but is somebody who knows how to play the game the right way and brings leadership to a team that needs it. he is a veteran but not so old he can’t relate to the young guys on the team. plus it shows irving they are willing to do what it takes to upgrade the team and make it a winner.

  7. oldschoolnflman - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    Best of luck to Mr. Deng. Lakers fan, not a Bulls guy but this man played hard. Loved how hard him and the the rest of the boys played Miami each year. Hope Deng helps Cavs get into the playoffs, and turn that franchise around again!

  8. 00maltliquor - Jan 9, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    He should have took it. He ain’t worth more then that. Plus, CHI and Luol were perfect for each other. It’ll be VERY interesting to see where he ends up next year and for how much.

  9. sportsfan18 - Jan 9, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    Deng is a solid NBA player.

    There are only so many LeBron’s, Chris Paul’s, Kevin Durant’s out there.

    No team has a starting 5 of all LeBron’s.

    So there are others in the league and Deng is solid. He doesn’t make waves. None of us read about him in the news for the wrong things. He plays hard, he plays defense too.

    Basically any team in the league could use a player like Deng on their team, not as the first option or even second option on many teams, but he is a good, solid NBA player.

    I agree that he’ll most likely get around $12 million a year for 3 to 4 yrs on the open market.

  10. indrathegod - Jan 9, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    I believe him when he says he never asked for 15. Considering his salary is $14.3 mil this season, that doesn’t make any sense. Anyone with a brain knew he would need to take a pay cut, but $10 mil, no negotiations? I wouldn’t have taken it either. This is a two-time All-Star and Olympian who was considered the star on a Roseless team. If players like Ty Lawson, Gallinari and Gerald Wallace can get $10 mil a year, I think we’re safe to say Deng deserves more than that. He’s averaging 19PPG for goodness sake.

    The Bulls are tanking.

  11. stayhigh_247 - Jan 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    I hope he ends up on a contender this summer, OKC, Portland, Indy, San Antonio. At this point in his career he needs to be somewhere he can win a ring. As much as I love Kyries game, their not going anywhere anytime soon.

  12. chitownmatt - Jan 9, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    The Chicago press are all in support of this, but I just can’t agree. Sometimes, the press just loves for GM’s to make some sort of play to give them something to talk about.

    But, Deng is an rare combination of good attitude, smart playing, elite defender while not being an offensive liability.

    I would go so far as to say that he is a top 20 guy when ALL aspects of game are considered.

    I really can’t see the Bulls getting a shot at anyone near his quality to replace him anytime soon.

    I also think with would give Carmello Anthony a very serious second thought to the recently mentioned thougths of coming to Chicago. The idea of Rose, Butler, Noah, Deng, Anthony definitely raised some interesting possibilities.

    Just as they have for the last 15 years, Paxon and Forman only continue to ensure the Bulls will remain “near” the top of the East for the foreseeable future and never actually get “to” the top of the East.

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