I recently heard that Luol Deng had the third longest tenure in Bulls history behind Michael Jordan and Scotty Pippen. He was certainly paid as if he had the talent of those two. The problem is he never produced like he was paid to do. The Chicago Bulls recently traded Luol Deng to get his contract off of their books. The 2013-2014 season is already over for the Bulls. Hopefully Joakim Noah doesn’t injure himself playing his heart out like he does every night. The season is a wash, that makes two in a row
Deng was only traded because of the Derrick Rose injury situations. The team is headed for rebuilding whether they want to acknowledge it or use that word or not. They need to dump as much salary as possible. They need to get as many draft picks as possible. They need to build the team around Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah is my personal favorite basketball player since Michael Jordan (besides Tim Duncan) but even he probably needs to be traded for draft picks. I wouldn’t pull the trigger on that trade myself, but it is for the best in the long run.
Luol Deng is a nice guy and an even better ambassador for the Bulls, the city of Chicago, and basketball in general. The media has been using that to remember Luol Deng fondly and highlight his many positives on his way out the door. He played very good defense, was a textbook team player, was coachable, humble, and hardworking. What Luol Deng was not however, was a superstar NBA player despite being paid like one. His contract numbers indicated he was a top player at his position, he is not and was not. Deng is the third or fourth piece of a championship team, never forget that.
If he was better than that, wouldn’t the Chicago Bulls have won an NBA Championship or at least gotten to the NBA Finals? Deng was supposed to be the number two, and although he was able to guard LeBron James, he couldn’t mount half the offensive numbers needed in clutch situations OR series’ to warrant his pay range or more than two all star appearances in almost a decade in the league.
Luol Deng is a nice guy but he should have been traded years ago. If Derrick Rose’s decision making and Carlos Boozer’s defense (lack thereof) didn’t occupy the ire of Chicago sports fans, Deng would have been in the crosshairs much sooner. Luckily for him, he got out before things got really bad. Although I don’t know how lucky one can be going to Cleveland for any reason.
Hopefully Deng realizes before he’s too old he needs to take less money to play for a contender while he still can be a starter with some lead in his pencil. He is a great regular season player, but vanishes in the playoffs on the offensive end every single time. That is likely due to the incredible effort he gives defensively night in and night out against the league’s best. That would be an acceptable excuse at half the base salary he’s been taking home for his last two contracts. Kobe Bryant once wanted to be traded to Chicago to play with Luol Deng, seems like another dimension and a long time ago.
Luol Deng is a nice guy who plays damn good defense. That is good enough to be a number three or four, unfortunately he was paid like a number one or two. For that reason the Bulls made the right call in trading him and getting what they could in return to look towards the future.