Trading Luol Deng would be a terrible decision for the Chicago Bulls. At 27 years old, Deng provides three main things necessary to the squad: A solid shooting presence, veteran leadership and fan involvement and energy.
A few months ago, Deng's availability for this season remained in question as it appeared the forward would need wrist surgery. However, Deng's doctors recently announced that he can forgo the operation. After leading Great Britain during the 2012 Olympics, Deng is positive and ready to go for the NBA season. He said the following after the Olympics:
Did I look like I needed (surgery)? I'm fine right now. I feel great. There are a lot of things I want to improve in my game that I want to focus on now. I want to be a better player than I was last year. I have time to make decisions and be healthy by the time we start (training camp).
Chicago could look at trading Deng for a new, younger player, but that's not what the team needs right now. The Bulls have already acquired several new players while losing some significant "bench mob" members, and making another swap would not be to their advantage. To use a cliche, why fix what isn't broken?
Last season, Deng averaged 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Originally drafted 7th overall by Phoenix in the 2004 draft, Deng has put up consistent numbers since day one. He started 54 games in Chicago in 2011-2012, and he should remain in this position.
Numbers aside, he's an invaluable leader to his younger teammates. Deng's presence on the hardwood provides energy and stability in every game; this will be even more valuable this season with so many new faces donning the red and black. Not only does he lead his teammates, but Deng is a fan favorite. With star point guard Derrick Rose sidelined until at least this spring, supporters are looking for someone to trust.
The Duke alum is a role player, and losing him while already facing a season without Rose is a situation Chicago should avoid at all costs.