British Basketball Says Bulls Pressuring Luol Deng to Withdraw from Olympics

by May 28, 2012
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The folks in charge of the British national hoops team aren’t very happy with the Chicago Bulls, citing alleged attempts to convince forward Luol Deng to sit out the Olympic Games this summer in London. Reports the Chicago Tribune: “The seemingly annual dance to secure Luol Deng’s insurance for international competition took a mildly confrontational turn on Saturday. Chris Spice, performance director for British Basketball, accused the Bulls of pressuring Deng to withdraw from his Olympic commitment because of his wrist injury. Spice’s statement also decried the NBA’s lack of support. NBA and Bulls officials declined to respond. ‘Luol Deng is hugely committed to the British Basketball program and he has maintained this stance despite recent pressure for him not to play after injuring his wrist during the highly-demanding shortened NBA season,’ Spice’s statement said. ‘We admire and support his stance. Luol is a true professional and manages his body extremely well as shown by the high amount of minutes he was able to play for his club after sustaining the injury in January.’ The collective bargaining agreement prohibits the Bulls from preventing Deng to play. Deng, who will make $13.3 million next season, met with team officials last week and reiterated his plan to play in the Olympics. That will postpone any decision on surgery to repair the torn ligament in his left wrist until August. Bulls officials reiterated to Deng their hope he will not miss training camp next season. Spice released his statement after The Telegraph reported insurance could cost more than $400,000. Spice expressed confidence Britain will secure insurance for Deng.”