by Marcel Mutoni

I think it’s more than fair to say that Luol Deng’s contract negotiations with the team are going a lot better than fellow Chicago Bull Ben Gordon‘s. In fact, according to several published reports, Luol is about to become a rather rich young man.

The Chicago Sun-Times breaks it down:

The Bulls and forward Luol Deng are expected to finalize a six-year, $71 million contract Wednesday, with a formal signing likely Thursday. A source familiar with the negotiations said talks were accelerated when Deng’s agent, Jason Levien, flew to town Tuesday to meet with Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager John Paxson.

The new deal for Deng, a restricted free agent, has incentives that could increase the total value to $80 million.

That’s a lot of scratch for Luol Deng, but then again, in today’s NBA where someone like Rashard Lewis could finance a small war if it so fancied him, it is not entirely surprising.

Whether or not Luol is a franchise-caliber player remains to be seen (and I’m leaning towards the “not”), but the Chicago Bulls are going to pay him like one. And somewhere on a lonely street in Chicago, Ben Gordon is furiously kicking dust.