Luol Deng Signs Contract with Bulls, Retires from NBA After 15 Years

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2019

Chicago Bulls small forward Luol Deng returns to the bench during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Chicago. The Bulls won 94-88. (AP Photo/Charlie Arbogast)
Charlie Arbogast/Associated Press

Luol Deng signed a one-day contract with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday in order to retire as a member of the team after 15 years in the NBA

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Team president Michael Reinsdorf spoke about Deng's impact on the franchise in an official statement:

"We're very fortunate and humbled that Luol has chosen to retire as a Chicago Bull. He was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help us win. I want to thank Luol for not only what he accomplished on the court for the team, but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts."

The Bulls announced they'll formally honor the 34-year-old during a home game in the 2019-20 NBA season.

The Bulls acquired Deng in a draft-night trade with the Phoenix Suns in 2004. He was a key contributor during the Tom Thibodeau era when the team got as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011.

Prior to Deng's arrival, the Bulls had missed the playoffs for six straight years as they foundered after Michael Jordan's retirement. Chicago reached the postseason in all but one of Deng's first nine seasons.

He was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013 and made the NBA All-Defensive second team in 2011-12 as well. His 10,286 points are fourth-most in franchise history and he's sixth among Bulls players in total win shares (58.4), according to Basketball Reference.

The Bulls traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January 2014, and he subsequently suited up for the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith noted Deng's legacy in L.A. will continue through the 2021-22 season, when he'll count for $5 million in dead money as a consequence of the ill-fated four-year, $72 million deal he signed in 2016.


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