In the NBA, there are all kinds of trade conversations that start out because one team is curious what they can get for a player. General managers need to know a players value on the market.
Chicago, like a lot of top teams, sees a luxury tax issue in its future so the idea of moving a big name for a younger, cheaper player who can provide some help makes sense. Which brings us to the rumor from the Daily Herald in Chicago.
The Bulls have put moving Luol Deng to move way up in the draft “under consideration.”
First off, I’d be shocked if anything came of this. But I can also see the logic in exploring it.
Deng is set to make $13.3 million next season. That’s in addition to Carlos Boozer’s $15 million, Joakim Noah’s $11 million and the max deal for Derrick Rose kicking in. With just guys already under contract Chicago is right at the luxury tax line next year, and those big deals aren’t getting smaller.
Eventually someone may have to be moved or amnestied because the tax burden escalates dramatically if you are over the line for three years. If you could trade Deng and get into a spot where you could draft a Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist that is something you might have to consider. Not because they are better players than Deng, but because you need to get under the tax threshold in the next couple years before the penalties kick in.
Welcome to the new NBA where the owners think they want parity. That’s not what sells for this sport, but they are going to kill some potentially great teams to learn that lesson.
By the way Bulls fans, Deng is working out with Great Britain’s basketball team in preparation for the London Olympics starting in July. However, he is not going to play in any of the friendlies leading up to the games due to his injured wrist, which likely requires surgery after the Games. Which will have him missing the start of the season.