As trade rumors begin swirling around Luol Deng once again, there's another possibility for the Bulls forward: A contract extension. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Bulls and Deng have engaged in discussions about a possible long-term deal. However, agent Herb Rudoy tells Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com (Twitter link) that that's not the case.
"We've had zero discussions about an extension (for Deng)," Rudoy said. "Zero" (Twitter link).
Because Deng's current contract was signed back in July 2008, he is now eligible for an extension. Veteran extensions can be for up to four years total, which means Deng could currently add two new years to his current deal. If the two sides were to reach an agreement in July or later in the offseason, three new years could be added to Deng's contract.
Typically, veteran players don't sign contract extensions before they reach free agency, since extensions limit the amount of years and dollars they can receive. But in Deng's case, he'd be eligible to receive up to nearly $50MM for three years, beginning in 2014/15. That sort of deal might be worth giving up a chance to hit the open market next summer.
Of course, if what Rudoy says is true, any speculation about an extension for Deng may be moot. Wojnarowski isn't usually wrong, so it's unclear what the real story is here, but perhaps the Bulls are trying to regain some leverage in trade discussions involving Deng, by conveying that they'd have no problem hanging on to him long-term.