Like Pau Gasol and Paul Pierce and a host of others, Luol Deng is considering his options and waiting.
Remember he turned down three years, $30 million from the Bulls and now he wants more — certainly more years, ideally more money per year (but not less). He saw what Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala got and wants to be in that ballpark. Miami couldn’t give that to him, so they are out.
Atlanta might as they are the team making the hardest run at him in recent days, but also in the mix potentially are the Clippers (unlikely sign-and-trade), Wizards, Mavericks, Raptors and Lakers are all lurking. Deng knows that once the LeBron James/Carmelo Anthony/Chris Bosh players start to make their moves other offers will open up for him.
What about the Bulls? Deng’s agent told Steve Aschburner of NBA.com it could happen.
“It appeared uglier than it was,” said agent Ron Shade (about Deng’s trade out of Chicago to Cleveland), who works with Chicago-based Herb Rudoy. “Luol is a professional, so what happened if January is forgiven but not forgotten….
“Like I say, Luol is a professional,” Shade said. “He will hear every reasonable option and give it serious thought. We won’t close any door on that possibility at all.”
The problem with Deng to the Bulls is finding a way for both sides to save face.
But that three-year, $30 million number, made so public, has become a set point that complicates the situation. If Deng accepts it now, some will characterize that as “crawling back” on the Bulls’ terms. If Paxson and Forman sweeten the deal, it might be portrayed that they “caved” and are scrambling to make up for their inability to woo Anthony.
More than likely Deng will not return to the Windy City, making the questions where, and for how much, will he sign.
Deng is waiting it out. As are we all.