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Luol Deng Trade Rumors: Ranking the Best Fit for the Chicago Bulls Small Forward

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 08: Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls shoots a look at a referee after being knocked down against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 8, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the 76ers 77-69. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 25, 2012

Luol Deng is reportedly on the block, with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic looking like the most likely destinations for the first-time All-Star.

While I don't think he should be traded at all, here are the best fits for Deng if he is indeed shipped away.

Remember that we're looking at this from only Deng's perspective. For the moment, I don't care about how well the deal works for the Chicago Bulls. To some extent, I don't care as much how it works for the team Deng is going too.

More than anything else, I'm attempting to dive into Deng's mind and see what he should want. 

 

3. Orlando Magic

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 28: Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot against Hedo Turkoglu #15 and Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic at the United Center on January 28, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Magic 99-90. NOTE TO USER
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It happened a long time ago now, but before the trade deadline, the Magic were ready to send Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu to the Chicago Bulls for Luol Deng, Omer Asik, Carlos Boozer and a draft pick.

Obviously that didn't happen, but a deal now would likely have a similar structure and hinge on whether Howard was willing to sign an extension with the Bulls. That's neither here nor there though as we're only looking at this from Deng's perspective.

Without Howard, the Orlando Magic are going to be a mess. If they were contenders before this hypothetical trade, they won't be after it as Deng can't carry a team like Howard can.

Deng may be able to stand out as the best player on the team, but he, Ryan Anderson and Jameer Nelson can't make too much noise without significantly more help.

 

2. Golden State Warriors

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 11: Loul Deng #9 and Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls block a shot by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at the United Center on November 11, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Warriors 120-90. NOTE TO USE
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, this deal no longer has any shot at happening.

The Bulls have privately assured Luol Deng that there's "no chance" of a deal sending him to the Warriors, league source tells Y!

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 25, 2012

That said, there's always a chance that the assurances are false and change in the days leading up the draft. 

The Golden State Warriors desperately need a small forward and Deng could lead a defensive uprising with his versatile talents on this end of the court. 

Deng would be one of the best players on this up-and-coming team and would surely help them at least contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference unless Stephen Curry's ankles hurt him through osmosis. 

However, the Dubs don't have the name recognition that the No. 1 team here does and they aren't true title contenders, even with Deng. 


1. Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls on November 18, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

From any player's perspective, it's hard to go to a better team than the Los Angeles Lakers. The purple and gold are always in playoff contention, play in one of the biggest cities in the world and have name recognition like no other. 

The deal gets even sweeter for Deng because the Lakers have a need at small forward. They probably don't want Metta World Peace and his flailing elbows to be the best at that position on their roster. 

Pau Gasol would most likely be shipped off to the Bulls in return, so let's look at it from that perspective. Could a lineup of a point guard to be named, but most likely still Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Luol Deng, power forward to be named and Andrew Bynum compete for a title? 

Absolutely. 

If Deng gets to pick his location, he'd have to be out of his mind to choose a different option. 

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