Luol Deng’s future with the Chicago Bulls has come into question as he plays out the final year of his contract. However, Bulls’ general manager Gar Forman reportedly hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing the All-Star forward.
According to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, Forman is still hopeful that the Bulls can work out a contract extension with Deng.
Here’s what the Bulls’ GM said on The Waddle & Silvy Show Tuesday on ESPN Chicago 1000, via Friedell’s article:
We value Luol a lot. And Luol is a big piece of the success we've had the last several years though we haven't gotten to our ultimate goal. We think Luol is going to continue to be a big piece, a big part of what we're doing. I know a lot was said about that we couldn't come to an extension last summer, but if you guys really study the NBA, especially since this new CBA—going into the CBA and since the new CBA has been in effect, it's very, very rare that extensions get done. So, the fact that one didn't get done was not an indicator of where we're at with Luol at all.
Deng is a huge part of the Bulls’ gritty defensive identity under head coach Tom Thibodeau, but luxury taxes continue to cast a dark cloud over Chicago.
Considering the consequences of the league's upcoming repeater tax, which penalizes teams for being over the luxury tax for multiple seasons, keeping Deng may force the Bulls to use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer.
Boozer is owed $15.3 million this season and $16.8 million next season.
The small forward has already made it clear that he would like to stay in Chicago for the remainder of his playing career. Per a Nov. 7 article by ESPN's Chris Broussard, Deng said, "I definitely want to stay here. I would love to play here my whole career."
It appears as if Forman is trying to abide by Deng's wishes.