The Bulls have won just three of their last 15 games, and will face another tough challenge tonight, as they play the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Chicago’s continued struggles could increase the odds of a Luol Deng trade, but according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, GM Gar Forman has not been making calls about Deng. However, he has fielded a few inquiries from other teams.
As the Bulls continue to weigh their options when it comes to moving Deng, the likelihood of a contract extension for the All-Star forward is “almost nil,” according to Cowley, who says the two sides are about $5-6MM per year apart. That’s a significant gap, but it’s not totally surprising. Deng will probably be looking for a deal in line with his current salary of $14MM, while the Bulls would likely prefer to reduce his annual salary to something closer to $10MM, to maintain enough flexibility to sign Nikola Mirotic next summer.
Cowley writes that the scenario in which the Bulls trade Deng becomes more realistic as long as the team’s slide continues, and the 28-year-old sounds like he has braced himself for that possibility.
“I’m mature enough to understand that I can’t worry about things I can’t control,” Deng said. “If I wake up tomorrow, they call me and they tell me otherwise, then that’s what it is. I can’t control that. That’s their job, and they’ve got to do their job. That’s a decision they have to make on what they feel is best for the team.”