Luol Deng’s name has been in trade rumors all season, and with his free agency looming next summer, it’s been widely assumed that the Chicago Bulls would move him. That’s not the plan, according to ESPN:
Teams are inquiring about Deng’s status with the Bulls, who continue to sink in the standings in the wake of the knee injury that wrecked another season for Derrick Rose.
Deng told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that he’s been preparing for the possibility of being traded, but sources said that’s not in the team’s plans. Despite failing to come to terms on a contract extension before the season, the Bulls remain optimistic they will re-sign Deng next summer.
Having spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, Deng has consistently said he wants to stay with the Bulls, though the sides were far apart on contract talks before they were tabled.
Deng is in the final year of a contact that will pay him $14 million this season, and the Bulls are facing a luxury-tax bill that could exceed $13 million. Some league executives believe that the Bulls, who’d never incurred a luxury tax until last year, may have an interest in offloading payroll ahead of the trade deadline. For now, though, that will not include Deng.