Bulls’ Pick Of Snell Keeps Deng Guessing

a

a
DEERFIELD, Ill.
– Chicago forward Luol Deng got neither a trade nor a contract extension by the end of NBA business late on Draft night Thursday, which should only make his summer more, um, compelling.

That’s a fill-in-the-blank euphemism for the crossroads at which Deng finds himself at age 28.

Deng, the Bulls’ two-time All-Star, has been coach Tom Thibodeau‘s most leaned-upon player for the past three years, at both ends of the floor and through the teams’ many injuries (Deng plays hurt more than any other Bull and most of his NBA peers). During the season, that makes him invaluable on the floor and in the locker room.

During the offseason, though, that makes him an asset. And that’s how Deng was being assessed, evaluated, sliced and diced as the draft approached.

Some reports had the Bulls talking about a deal with Washington that would have sent Deng to the Wizards for the No. 3 pick and Emeka Okafor – Washington took Otto Porter Jr. with the third pick instead. Okafor and Deng, meanwhile, went nowhere.

Other reports suggested that Deng was in negotiations with Chicago brass for a contract extension, presumably something that would bring his annual salary down from the $14.2 million he’ll earn in 2013-14 – down, that is, if Deng wanted to stick with the Bulls.

With Derrick Rose ($18.8 million), Carlos Boozer ($16.8 million), Joakim Noah ($12.2 million) and Taj Gibson ($8 million) on the books for $55.8 million in 2014-15 – Boozer as an amnesty candidate – Chicago is sensitive to payroll, cap and luxury-tax implications for the summer of 2014 and beyond.

But the extension talks were swatted down by Deng’s agent, Herb Rudoy, early in the week.

Then with the No. 20 pick Thursday, Chicago drafted 6-foot-7 New Mexico wingman Tony Snell, described in NBA shorthand as a “3&D” guy. That puts him in the Bulls team photo next to 6-foot-7 wingman Jimmy Butler, who showed some of the same skills in a breakout second season in 2012-13. Butler is heavier on the ‘D,’ still developing on the 3 but based on his performance after the All-Star break and against Brooklyn and Miami in the playoffs, he already has been inked into the starting backcourt spot next to Rose.

Snell – touted for his 6-foot-11 wingspan, 8-9 standing reach, 9-inch hand length and 4.9% body fat – was a high school teammate of San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in Riverside, Calif., but is only four months younger than the Spurs forward, who already has logged two NBA seasons and one stellar Finals. So we’ll skip any comparisons there.

We won’t make any to Deng, either, a heady, selfless player finds ways to caulk around whatever his Chicago teammates are or aren’t providing on a given night. But Deng got ill in the playoffs, followed by a spinal tap to rule out meningitis and complications from that procedure, ending his postseason. That gave them another taste of life without the 6-foot-8 veteran – and life went on.

Washington, its roster so young, could use a veteran such as Deng, same as several other teams. Deng, a proud man, deserves to be appreciated for all he’s done and keeps doing for the Bulls. That’s a long shot, given management’s budget red lines and some fans’ vocal treatment of the South Sudan gentleman during some earlier periods of contract wrangling and under-performance.

Deng’s heavy minutes through a bum wrist and other ailments also have left him feeling a little taken for granted. And the front office’s apparent determination to keep its powder dry for 2014 and beyond – despite Rose’s eagerness and various opportunities and vulnerabilities in the Eastern Conference – might make younger, cheaper facsimiles look awfully attractive.

“We value Luol as you all know,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said late Thursday. “Luol’s a big piece of what we’re doing. He’s been a big piece of the success we’ve had the last couple years. And he’ll continue to be a big piece of what we do moving forward.”

Deng and his future in Chicago (or elsewhere) is as good a barometer for the Bulls in 2013-14 as anything this offseason.

34 Comments

  1. Jimmy Buckets says:

    i also think we need to bring the mamba out of retirement, and at this point id put Nate in as a reserve 5 LOL

  2. Jimmy Buckets says:

    Deng leaving Chi town? crazy talk…besides jimmy needs a father

  3. sanch_swish says:

    i would only tradedeng for Lamarcus Aldridge.. Him at the starting PF slot would make the Bulls instant favorites over the Heat.

  4. Dave says:

    I love Luols game and how hard be plays. Besides Lebron he is probably the best 2way small forward in the nba and he is the glue for the bulls.. the knock b4 was he didn’t play with injuries.. now he plays thru them & he gets scrutiny.. he has to be resigned.. he is the perfect compliment to Rose at that small spot as well.. Snell was taken I think because of the need to lower Dengs mins to keep him healthy & because his game resembles that of Luol except he’s a better ball handler.. Lu should be extended just as Noah, Rose & Taj were.. he’s earned it

  5. Sean Hathorne says:

    Okafor is one of the top 3 over rated players in the league. I don’t love Boozer but I appreciate him. He had the the most double- doubles in the east. He almost made the all star team. big men for the bulls to try for. . Jermaine Oneal, Prysbilla, Greg smith of Houston,n Robin Lopez and Thompson of Sacramento. Keep Belinelli and Nate. Good bye to Rip, Teague , Cook, Radmonavic, and maybe Nazi.. Don’t be cheap. Real contender don’t cry about the salary cap.

    PS Boozer Snell and a 2015 first round for, Lamarkus could work just fine.

  6. john says:

    rose is the best pg in the NBA no way the bull are going to trade him ill trade Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson

  7. Art says:

    If you like Bulls & want to trade Deng you are just an idiot. They need both Deng & Butler to play against Gorge/Granger, and Pierce/Johnson.
    Why they selected Snell in this case? Because they need a SG from the bench who can shoot 3 pointers & play SF. If Deng or Butler is injured somebody should play 10-12 minutes as SF & give the starter a little rest. Butler had to be on the floor 48 minutes because nobody else could play this position. Snell can do both: shoot 3 pointers & guard SF.
    Now Bulls should find (probably using mini ML exception) somebody who will backup Noah and a SG Veteran (for Minimum).

  8. Romsen says:

    You never trade Rose and you keep Deng unless you can somehow get Lamarcus Aldridge. If the Bulls stay as is they’ll be fine. Rose, Butler, Deng, Boozer, Noah is a solid starting lineup that can compete with anyone when healthy. Snell, Gibson, Hinrich off the bench, sign Belinelli or get Korver back, sign a big in free agency and we should be fine! Next year we get out PF/C from Europe who is said to be the next Dirk & we have a Bobcats pick which is going to be solid. Health only is the major concern. As long as we’re healthy we can compete easily with the Nets, Heat, Pacers, Spurs, & Okc. That’s all! GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Mike says:

    We need to push to get Andre Iguodala to compete with these other teams Rose needs help first year back cant put all the weight in his shoulders

  10. Danny says:

    I say trade Deng and Boozer. Sign Josh Smith and O.J. Mayo, Andre Iguadala, or Monte Ellis

  11. james says:

    We need another BIG man, Deng is not the problem we have nobody to board or to post-up when Noah is out. Cut our ties with Gibson and Boozer and get a real BIG MAN to help. Their are two big man Utah have ready to go and sign Nate!!!

  12. Kamil says:

    Dude why the hell would they want to trade their starting small forward? For who? For what? Draft picks and some scrub player? Yea okay.

    I don’t care how good Snell is, he’s not better than Deng. There isn’t a lot of guys who can play 40+ a night and not complain they are getting over worked. That’s why I always loved Loul Deng. He’s not too loud, not too quiet. He is a great all around player who in my opinion fits the Bulls perfectly. The Bulls are built to compete now. Not 5 years down the line.

    GET THAT THROUGH YOUR MINDS PEOPLE^

  13. Erlo says:

    Deng should take less money. What does he need that much money for anyways? I guess I would say that to all the nba players. Want to win? Take less money and make a great team.

    • Rosesrred says:

      “take less money”……………..you are joking right? Rose sat out the whole season while Deng played hurt and now you want him to take less money? this is how you thank the man?

  14. Dewayne Hardeman says:

    Really getting rid of Deng why in the world would you do that if anything that over paid boooIzer can get the H*** on

  15. N´Gola says:

    It would be great for Deng to get more respect, risking his career for the team, Unfortunately, it is all about dollars an cents, and this world is cold.

  16. lee lovitt says:

    i like deng i say get rid of boozer he dont fit there stile of play and id also trade gibson his contract is to big the could pick up players like him for alot cheaper i might trade deng too if i could sign a guy like corey brewer but now that the have drafted snell the have a good 3 man rotation at the 2 and 3 which is something the have needed for a while if rose comes back healthy there biggest weakness will be the 4 which is hard to say for boozer and gibson the are talented but still a weakness considering you the can be replaced easily at those cap numbers id say trade for a guy like bosh who would fit great with noah or the couldve went for the kg and pearce combo but that ship has saled now get a guy like bosh who fits perfectly with noah and rose and those lengthy outside shooters push the ball play d and shoot 3s this team could come back and be a finals contender if the pick up theright peaces in the next year i dont think boozer is in that and im not sure deng is but id look to get rid of boozer and gibson before i would anyone the can have some cap relief in 2014 and there is going to be some great peaces to pick up for a title that the shouldve picked up instead of boozer the first time around another guy id go for is josh smith if the can do a sign and trade he would fit great as well

    • Rosesrred says:

      Bosh?????????? that piece of GARBAGE!!!! did you not see game 7 of the finals against San Antonio? lol.

  17. mjb77 says:

    I’d like to know how the bulls are deep at this position. Butler will start at the 2 and Deng at the three. Other than that there isn’t anything off the bench. RIP won’t be asked to come back or at least shouldn’t be and Marco is free to go anywhere. When Marco starts he played well, when he came off the bench he struggled to get into the game. Snell is pick 20 in the draft, I don’t know anything about him but I think he would have trouble guarding James or Wade in a 7 game playoff series, unlike Deng or Butler. With this pick we needed a backup center or someone who could shoot the three. We picked the three. As for the salary problem it’s simple, you want a shot at the championship you pay the tax, otherwise your wasting your time. Paying Boozer & Gibson $25 M when only one can be on the court is your issue. As for the Okafor trade you must be kidding. Seriously why write that rubbish.

  18. josh says:

    I’d let Deng go. Free up the space and rebuild again. That being said I would also trade Rose as he needs too much cotton wool. yes he is very talented but he isn’t going to last for 90 something games which is required for a championship. I’d trade Rose for Rondo or any other superstar PG…

    • Dewayne Hardeman says:

      Man you must not like the Bulls or you drunk one

    • bob dole says:

      that sounds stupid who in the nba would b a better fit for the bulls other than deng and y would they trade rose and its a proven fact that with him they are 10x better and hes been out 4 a whole year if they havent traded him by now he aint gettin traded no time soon

      • John says:

        Why would you rebuild when all you need is for your team to be healthy? As bad as everyone wants to make the past season seem, the Bulls were still able to get into the 2nd round w/o Rose and had a nice season while finding important players such as Jimmy Butler. With Miami looking vulnerable the Bulls are in perfect position to take their spot on top the East. You don’t trade your best player because he had one major injury. You certainly don’t rebuild after a successful season, even though it didn’t go as planned. So, please stop with the nonsense and over reactions. A lot of fans should understand why they are just fans and not decision makers.

    • Danny says:

      That is the dumbest comment i’ve read so far. Who would trade rose? lol wow

    • Rosesrred says:

      duhhhhhhh….Rondo didn’t last ninety games either genius. Rondo was hurt and couldn’t play when they needed him(playoffs).

    • Lakers4life says:

      Rondo got injured too,stupid,also why would they trade a star player? I bet the Bulls will get past the 2nd round if they remain healthy next season.

    • isaac says:

      dude talking about trading rose would get you chased out of town if you were a gm, thank god your just a knowledgeless wanna be basketball fan

  19. RnBizzle says:

    This pick has nothing to do with Deng’s future in my opinion. Jimmy Butler is starting at the 2 and Deng at the 3. After those two guys they’re really not that deep at the 2 and 3 position. Marco is a freeagent and I’d be surprised if Rip stays. Snell is just added depth, which is what a 20th pick is usually used for right?

    Deng is an all-star player, I wish Bulls fans (and writers here on NBA.com apparently) would show him a little more respect.

  20. Joe says:

    They are deep at his position, that’s why they don’t need him

  21. J says:

    i had no idea what this article was about but i liked it
    something about deng leaving the bulls or snell replacing him (which is obsurd) or something like that
    steve aschburner’s articles make me sometimes scratch my head

  22. Kamil says:

    I hope they don’t trade Deng. Try to negotiate for a 2 year deal. Pay him more or less what he wants and then after those two years, you hope he resigns for less and retires a Chicago Bull.