Several Teams Reportedly Interested in Pursuing Luol Deng

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2013

USA Today

Chicago Bulls two-time All-Star forward Luol Deng, who will enter unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2013-14 season, reportedly has numerous suitors aiming to sign him next summer.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Brooklyn Nets have all expressed interest in Deng, according to an article by Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago citing league sources.

Deng said the following when asked if his on-court approach has changed in the midst of a contract year, according to Sam:

If I said I’m not, then I’d be lying. I’m being realistic. It’s not greed, it’s not anything. First of all, the first thing I do when I play this game, is be the best I can be. Money-wise, not money-wise, that’s the best thing I want to be. Playing, the fact that I know it’s my contract year, I have to show people what I can do. It’s not a selfish thing, and it’s not the only reason. If it wasn't my contract year, I’d still be playing hard to show people.

The 28-year-old veteran is averaging 19.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season to go with a player efficiency rating of 17.7. Deng has continued to play at an All-Star-caliber level—especially after Derrick Rose went down with a torn meniscus—but he's missed the team's last three games due to an Achilles injury.

Although at least seven teams around the league are showing interest in Deng, the Bulls shouldn't be left out of the conversation.

According to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, Bulls general manager Gar Forman reportedly hasn't ruled out the possibility of re-signing the talented forward.

Forman said the following on The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN Chicago 1000, via Friedell:

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 sure to be a hot commodity during the 2014 offseason. With so many teams in the running for his services, don’t be surprised if a bidding war breaks out among those suitors.