Deng Could Be Luxury Tax Casualty?
So why would the Bulls even think about trying to trade Luol Deng for a high draft pick?
That does appear to be one of the strategies under consideration right now, league sources confirmed. A draft camp meeting with North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes was mentioned on the team’s website, but there’s probably no single target.
And yes, it does seem odd that Deng would go from leading the NBA in minutes per game to trade bait. That can be explained, however. The Bulls are disappointed Deng is planning to wait until after the London Olympics to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Really, though, missing the first month or two of next season is irrelevant in the long run. The Bulls have plenty of love for Deng. The issue here is being backed up against the luxury tax and trying to create flexibility for the future. … The whole point is creating flexibility to make more moves in the near future, without paying the luxury tax for a team that may struggle to make the playoffs.
Trading Deng for a draft pick is by no means the only option being considered this summer. But it does show that Forman won’t be content just waiting for Rose to recover. The plan is to retool the roster and hope the team is better equipped to reach the Finals when Rose returns to his old form.