Bulls Rumors: Deng, Butler, Roster

The Bulls weren’t playing great ball even before losing Derrick Rose to a season-ending knee injury on Friday, but things have gone from bad to worse since then. After being blown out by the Clippers on Sunday, Chicago suffered another road loss last night to the NBA’s worst team, falling in overtime to the Jazz (now 2-14). Despite the team’s recent struggles, it doesn’t sound like any major changes are on the way. Here’s the latest out of Chicago:

  • The Bulls are more likely to keep Luol Deng “for the long haul” than to trade him, says Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. It’s not clear if Zillgitt just means Deng figures to remain a Bull for the rest of this season or beyond this season. However, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld suggests in more certain terms that a new contract between the two sides next summer is probable.
  • Chicago has no interest in trading Jimmy Butler, according to both Zillgitt and Kyler. Both writers suggest that the Bulls still believe they have enough talent to compete in the postseason without Rose, and aren’t interested in breaking up the team.
  • Coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged that Gar Forman, John Paxson, and the Bulls’ front office will have to consider every possibility for the roster, but Thibodeau says he loves the team and expects to “find a way” to compete. Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago has the details and quotes.
  • Sam Smith of Bulls.com questioned Forman extensively about the possibility of rebuilding or retooling the roster, but the Bulls GM insisted that the club still feels like the long-term outlook is positive and won’t make any rash decisions.
  • Forman to Smith: “We have a young nucleus of veterans basically in their 20s; we have multiple draft picks, including a pick from Charlotte in one of the next three drafts; we have the rights to Nikola Mirotic, who has been the best young payer in Europe the last two years. I know people get tired of hearing it sometimes, but we also have the possibility of flexibility in free agency this summer or next. So we feel we are in a good position, and we will be getting Derrick back.”
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