Two months after the somewhat surprising report that the Chicago Bulls were initiating extension talks with erstwhile forward Luol Deng, CSN Chicago’s Aggrey Sam reports that the talks have stalled after the Bulls decided they didn’t want to pursue them further.
Signing Deng to an extension only really made sense in two contexts: where the Bulls wanted to be able to trade Deng between the end of the season and the start of free agency; or if they’ve decided to deep six the so-called 2014 Plan. Deng is the Bulls’ most significant expiring contract and the Bulls only could have significant cap room next summer if they let him walk. Even amnestying Carlos Boozer wouldn’t get them under the cap by a significant amount.
It definitely behooves the Bulls to play the waiting game on this, and they’ll probably end up letting him walk in the end. Deng figures to command at least the 4 years, $48 million that Andre Iguodala got, given that Deng will be viewed as a consolation prize for whatever team doesn’t end up with LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Whether Deng is worth that money is a different argument, but it’s unlikely that the Bulls will pay him that much whether he’s objectively worth it or not.
Either way, it’s ‘wait and see’ time at this point.