6:06pm: Sam clarifies in a pair of tweets that the teams mentioned in his story are more interested in Deng as a free agent than a trade target, since they wouldn’t want to give up assets to rent him for a half-season.
4:59pm: The Cavaliers, Mavericks, Lakers, Raptors, Spurs, Grizzlies and Nets are among the teams interested in Luol Deng, sources tell Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com. It’s not clear whether those teams are looking to trade for Deng this season or sign him in the summer, when he’ll be a free agent. The Bulls, while reportedly determined not to trade Deng, would apparently do so if they receive the right offer, and according to Sam, such an offer would involve a productive young player and a first-round pick.
Deng and the Bulls had extension talks this summer, but agent Ron Shade, who represents Deng along with Herb Rudoy, tells Sam that the Bulls never even made an extension offer to his client and says that many were “shocked” that Chicago wouldn’t do so.
“Honestly, I wanted something to be done,” Deng said. “I wanted to be here. I really felt we were going to. I don’t know how the money works. I don’t know what needed to be done. I really don’t know any of that stuff. But after the spinal tap, I went away and everything, I think I was waiting to hear from the Bulls. I was waiting to hear from [GM] Gar [Forman], and I really thought there would be weeks, maybe months of going back and forth, and trying to get it done. I felt like I’ve been here since I was 18. I’ve worked hard. They’ve seen me come in and do everything. But for whatever reason, Gar felt like it wasn’t the time yet.”
Still, Deng insists Forman “didn’t do anything wrong,” and remains open to staying with the team. The Bulls could have plenty of competition if they don’t deal him, Sam writes, believing that Deng could become the most sought-after free agent of the summer if marquee stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony decide not to opt out of their deals.