Before the start of the current NBA season, it was announced that Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls would not negotiate a contract extension. Deng will head into the offseason an unrestricted free agent, hoping to cash in on his All-Star status.
Deng, a do-it-all player, is invaluable to the Bulls. The two-time All-Star is nearly irreplaceable given all that he provides to Chicago's team. Deng is also aging and injury prone. How much should you pay for a 10-year vet who has played in 621 of a possible 745 games?
If Deng were awarded a 5-year deal, he'd be overpaid, hobbled, and nearly useless by the end of his contract. It's best that the Bulls start over for a chance to win. Can Chicago win as currently constructed? Maybe, but the Bulls surely aren't the favorites. Canada Goose Mens Langford Parka.
Losing Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich in the upcoming offseason will leave Chicago with about $5 million to spend in the offseason before hitting the luxury-tax threshold. For Chicago to be considered major contenders, it not only has to part with Deng but also amnesty Carlos Boozer. Boozer is owed nearly $17 million next season and removing his salary from the books gives Chicago roughly $22 million to spend in the offseason.
Miami's LeBron James and New York's Carmelo Anthony have early-termination options in their contracts and, if they opt out, will definitely be targeted by Chicago -- but that's not realistic.
More reasonable free-agent options for the Bulls include aging future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen, Pau Gasol, and Paul Pierce. All five players are on their last legs, but provide something that Chicago sorely lacks -- scoring. Other unrestricted free agents with more modest financial demands include Danny Granger, Ben Gordon, and Vince Carter, but do they really help you to beat Miami? Canada Goose Femmes Mystique Parka.
The Bulls had no problem paying Eddie Robinson and Tim Thomas to go away in the past, but Boozer is not one of those kinds of players. Boozer will probably stick around for the final year of his contract, limiting Chicago's flexibility.
Chicago owns the rights to Real Madrid forward Nikola Mirotic and plans to bring him to the Bulls in 2014. Mirotic will likely receive the mid-level exception of $5 million. While playing power forward in Europe, Mirotic is better suited to play small forward in the NBA and could be Deng's replacement.
Deng is beloved by coach Tom Thibodeau, his teammates, and even Bulls management. He is the ultimate professional who gives his all on the court and represents the team and the city of Chicago well off the court. Unfortunately, he wants to be paid as such. Father time will be creeping up in a couple of years, and we all know he's undefeated. It's just bad business to overpay a player on the downside of his career.
It's almost absurd to suggest that a 28-year-old player is on the downside of his career, but, given Deng's history and the number of minutes he plays, it's a safe assumption. Out of nine seasons, Deng played a full season only twice. During his time in Chicago, he's endured two different wrist injuries, a stress fracture in his right tibia, and a life-threatening illness suffered in the middle in the 2013 NBA playoffs, among other ailments. UGG Bailey Button 5809.
Deng led the league in minutes played per game in 2012 and 2013, and ranked fourth in 2011. For his career, Luol Deng averages 36 minutes a game. Under Tom Thibodeau, Deng is at 39 mpg -- how much more can his body take?
"I definitely want to stay here," Deng told ESPN. "I would love to play here my whole career. I've seen players in the past who wanted to stay with their team and it didn't work out. At the end of the day, I can't control that."