The Bulls cut off contract negotiations with Luol Deng last week, which allows him to test the free agent market next summer.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t pleased by the news, he sees Deng as a critical piece to what he’s trying to do in the windy city. This is a classic example of the head coach and front office not seeing eye-to-eye.
But at least one source feels that would change if forward Luol Deng is traded or allowed to walk into free agency without an extension next summer.
“Ask Tom how important he thinks Luol is,’’ the source said. “How happy do you think he would be with that decision?…”
“You need rebounding, he’ll give you rebounding,’’ Thibodeau said of Deng late last season. “If he’s not shooting well, he gives you great defense. No matter how the game is going, he’s always going to be there late for you, no matter if it’s pick-and-roll offense, swinging the ball, moving without the ball, making a great random cut from the weak side. He has great impact on winning. You can’t ask anything more of one of your best players.’’
Bulls general manager Gar Forman is looking at the deep free agent class next summer, which features the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and etc. Giving Deng a contract extension would shed a fair amount of that cap space to potentially sign a big name in the summer.