When a report surfaced earlier in December suggesting that Luol Deng and the Bulls had been about $5-6MM per year apart in extension talks, I speculated that perhaps Deng was looking for an annual salary in line with his current $14MM+, while the Bulls may have preferred something in the $10MM range. However, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the actual figures discussed were a little lower. Cowley reports that Deng and agent Herb Rudoy were seeking $12-13MM annually, while the Bulls slotted the All-Star forward at $7-8MM per year.
With Deng still a year away from free agency when the two sides talked about an extension, perhaps the Bulls were just driving a hard bargain, knowing that they still had plenty of time to work something out. But if Chicago stays committed to something in the neighborhood of $7-8MM annually, it seems highly unlikely that the club will be able to retain Deng beyond this season.
Here’s more from around the East….
- James Dolan is right not to scapegoat coach Mike Woodson for the Knicks’ poor performance this season, since the team’s struggles are the result of years of moves overseen by the owner, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the fact that Dolan told his players there won’t be any trades simply means that the Knicks don’t have any deals imminent — it doesn’t mean the team won’t make moves before the deadline.
- The Bucks and 76ers continue to sit atop Chad Ford’s Tank Rank list at ESPN.com, though Ford says Milwaukee owner Herb Kohl hasn’t totally given up on the idea of contending for the playoffs. Ford adds that the Sixers are among the NBA’s most active teams in trade discussions.
- In his weekly Morning Tip piece at NBA.com, TNT’s David Aldridge spoke to Kohl about finding investors in the Bucks and the possibility of both private and public funding for a new Milwaukee arena. Aldridge also explored the subject of why the Knicks and Nets feel compelled to avoid undertaking a full rebuild.
- The Cavaliers have recalled rookie forward Sergey Karasev from the D-League, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer (Twitter link). During his weekend stint with the Canton Charge, Karasev averaged 14.0 PPG in two games, making six three-pointers in total.