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Luol Deng would consider re-signing with Chicago Bulls this summer

Jan 26, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng AP

The Chicago Bulls, if they amnesty Carlos Boozer, will have significant cap room this summer. They’d have viable starters at point guard (Derrick Rose), shooting guard (Jimmy Butler), power forward (Taj Gibson) and center (Joakim Noah). That would leave a hole at only small forward, assuming Tony Snell isn’t ready to step into a bigger role and Mike Dunleavy plays his age.

Who will be the top small forwards at least potentially on the market?

1. LeBron James. He’s a unlikely to leave the Heat.

2. Carmelo Anthony. There could be legs here, but there are still plenty of hurdles.

3. Luol Deng. Well, this is awkward.

The Bulls, of course, traded Deng to Cleveland earlier this month. But what if he’s the best fit for them this summer? Would they consider him? Would he consider them?

Deng, via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

‘‘I don’t know,’’ Deng said sarcastically. ‘‘Maybe they’ll offer me three years, $30 million. That might be an option to take.’’

Deng eventually answered without the sarcasm.

‘‘I can’t say,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s no bad blood or anything. For me to sit here and say I’m taking Chicago out of the equation, that’s stupid. I was there for 10 years.’’

Deng obviously feels a little scorned right now. The Bulls lowballed him on a take-it-or-leave-it extension offer, probably a smart play by them, but one Deng didn’t appreciate. He had little trouble getting motivated to beat the Bulls a few days ago, and though it didn’t work – Deng shot 2-for-11 in a double-digit loss – the passion was real.

But his pragmatic approach is best. If the Bulls are the best spot for him, there’s no reason not to consider them. Otherwise, Deng might just be punishing himself for the next four years purely out of spite.

For the same reasons, the Bulls should consider re-signing Deng. They’d know what they’re getting – a good player who’s well-liked among the team – and he might be the missing piece. For their trouble, they would have avoided a year of the luxury tax and acquired a few draft picks. Not a bad deal.

A good example of such a trade-and-return was the San Antonio Spurs sending Sean Elliot to the Detroit Pistons in 1993 for Dennis Rodman. Elliot struggled with the Pistons, and while he was a restricted free agent the following summer, Detroit traded him back to San Antonio (which was apparently allowed then).

History repeating itself with Deng is a longshot – a real longshot. The Bulls likely traded Deng to seek a big upgrade. But if they strike out and Deng is the best fit left on the market…

  1. thevikesarebest - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    The Minnesota vikings are greater than every nba and nfl and mlb franchise.

  2. 00maltliquor - Jan 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    If the Bulls don’t get Melo, I really hope they can somehow get Deng back once he realizes he’s not worth much more then 3 years/30 million in todays NBA market.

    What if the Cavs re-sign him and pick up Boozer off amnesty though! That would be like CHI part 2. Deng and Boozer, Varejao in the role of Noah (they’re dang near the same player) and Kyrie as your oft-injured star scoring PG! Then you got your defensive minded coach in Brown to play the Thibs role (okay, okay, don’t laugh…I know I just stretched it there!) all you really need is a Butler. So then trade Waiters for a Butler-like player and presto! Instant contender.

  3. mpiersol - Jan 26, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Dan Gilbert’s head would explOde

  4. blueintown - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    “…and he might be the missing piece.”


    • casualcommenter - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:37 PM


      *If only the Bulls had a player like Luol Deng on their roster the past few years.
      He might have been their missing piece all along!*

  5. coachjac30 - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    As if a player would come out and say he wouldn’t consider signing somewhere. While he probably wouldn’t really consider it, why would he come out and say that, it wouldn’t benefit him in any way.

    • casualcommenter - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      Agreed. The Bulls made him their best offer, and he felt it was too low. The Bulls then traded Deng rather than increase their offer.

      If nobody on the free agent market makes him a better offer, would he consider going back to the Bulls? Sure.

      However, if anybody surpasses that offer, he’s not coming back. Deng only ends up with the Bulls if he attracts little interest on the free agent market, which I doubt. I suspect the Cavs will want to lock him up long-term.

  6. brandonfoss - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    I think “the missing piece” is either in the left or right knee of D.Rose…

  7. vikesdynasty - Jan 26, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Deng seems like a good dude. He’d be better alongside rose than melo. That would be disastrous.

    • casualcommenter - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      I’m not a huge fan of Melo, and I really like Deng, but I can’t agree with your comment.

      The Bulls have a ton of good defenders. What they need is a legit second scoring option alongside Rose. Boozer was signed to fill that role, but his production has fallen short of expectations on offense, and he is bad on defense. The Bulls need a 20+ points per game guy who can space the floor, and Melo would fit the bill. A Rose-Butler-Melo-Gibson-Noah lineup would have 3 really good defenders and 2 really good scorers.

      The best part of that lineup? Butler, Gibson, and Noah are all players happy to score under 20 points per game, so the bulk of the shots could go to Rose and Melo without having to worry about feeding a high-volume #3 option.

      • adamsjohn714 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:54 AM

        Melo and Rose would score 45 ppg on 38 shots. You would basically be giving up half your possessions for guaranteed average production. You wouldn’t have some awesome offense, just a middling one, and your defense would suffer.

      • geechieboy21 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        Yeh cause the defense really struggled with Boozer on the team who is one of the worst defense players in the league

  8. belleby123 - Jan 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    The Bulls have every reason to re-sign Deng, but they won’t. On some level trying to build a good young team makes sense, but on another level they are looking like the Cubs: the thought that they could start to win big “any year now” looks like a load of crap.

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