The Luol Deng trade between the Cavaliers and Bulls could have a significant impact on the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman notes, the move should ensure that Andrew Bynum becomes available for Miami to pursue, and it also gives the Cavs an intriguing alternative to LeBron James in free agency this summer.
The Bulls had been expected to challenge Miami for Eastern Conference supremacy this season, but for now, Chicago’s front office is focused on how to improve the long-term outlook of a team that no longer has Deng and will be without Derrick Rose for several more months. Here’s the latest out of Chicago:
- Asked about the Deng trade, coach Tom Thibodeau declined to go into detail, but “it’s obvious he disagreed” with the decision to move the veteran forward, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago. Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald suggests (via Twitter) that Thibodeau isn’t necessarily upset about the move, since he recognizes the reality of the Bulls’ situation, but he’s “not thrilled, obviously.”
- Bulls VP of basketball operations John Paxson confirmed that the club offered Deng an extension recently. According to Paxson, the front office felt like it was a competitive offer, but understood completely when Deng passed (Twitter links via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune).
- The money saved by the Bulls in this deal will be reinvested in the franchise, according to Paxson (Twitter link via Friedell).
- Paxson disagrees with the notion that the Bulls are rebuilding, suggesting that it’s not a rebuild when a franchise still has players like Rose and Joakim Noah, plus a coach like Thibodeau (Twitter link via TNT’s David Aldridge). Paxson added that the front office’s working relationship with Thibodeau is “really good,” according to Friedell (via Twitter).
- Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Gar Forman both spoke to Rose about the Deng trade and didn’t get the sense that the former MVP was unhappy with the direction of the club, tweets Friedell.
- Nikola Mirotic remains a part of the Bulls’ future, but the organization isn’t as confident as it once was that he’ll be signed this summer, tweets Friedell. Still, Chicago hopes to bring him over “sooner rather than later,” says Paxson (Twitter link via Johnson).
- The Bulls haven’t yet decided whether Carlos Boozer will be amnestied in July, says Paxson (Twitter link via Friedell).
- Paxson acknowledged that the Bulls didn’t handle Deng’s spinal tap fallout last spring as well as they should or could have, according to Johnson (Twitter link).