Chicago Bulls fans are waking up shocked this morning, not at the number on their thermometer but over the fact that the team made n overnight trade to send Luol Deng to Cleveland in a move that was only missing a Mayflower truck. The deal ends the Andrew Bynum drama for the Cavs, sends three draft picks including a 2014 first-rounder to Chicago and means that Luol Deng’s time with the Bulls is done.
There was some hope earlier in the past two weeks that the team could hammer out a contract extension with Deng but according to Yahoo! insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the sides were very, very far apart in contract talks. The Bulls reportedly offered Deng a three-year, $30 million extension last week which he promptly rejected.
Luol Deng rejected a 3 year, $30 million extension with Bulls last week, league source tells Yahoo. Turned out to be prelude to trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 7, 2014
That was the beginning of the end for Deng with the Bulls but the real nail in the coffin for the Bulls is the fact that USA Today writer Jeff Zillgitt tweeted that Deng’s camp wanted between $14-$15 million rather than just $10 million.
Have been told Luol Deng’s reps wanted $15-16 million/season. Trade now gives Bulls time to waive Bynum before his deal is full guaranteed.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) January 7, 2014
Bill Simmons reminded us last night f the debacle that involved Deng, the Bulls medical staff and a botched spinal tap during last year’s postseason that not only held Deng out of the Bulls series against the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat, but almost killed him. The Bulls’ negligence and their seeming not to care about him, at least not enough to leave someone behind in Chicago with him while the team played Miami, seems to be a factor as well.
Either way, the Bulls and Deng have parted ways and judging from the numbers, this divorce was something that was inevitable.