Chicago Bulls swingman Luol Deng has played heavy minutes (35.9 per game for his career) for the team over the last several seasons. He has contributed on both ends of the floor, averaging 16.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in eight seasons in the league, not to mention stalwart defense against guys like Miami’s LeBron James and Indiana’s Paul George.
However, he is also entering the final year of his contract, and that makes him expendable, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Chicago Bulls, in their latest attempt to gauge the trade value of All-Star swingman Luol Deng, have had exploratory discussions with Washington about a deal that would land Deng with the Wizards and bring the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s draft to the Bulls.
In a draft that is largely devoid of superstar prospects, the Wizards might benefit from bringing in a proven veteran such as Deng. With John Wall and Brad Beal at the guard positions, Deng would give the Wiz a third scoring option and quite the formidable backcourt.
The Bulls, on the other hand, would most likely be getting big man Emeka Okafor’s $14 million expiring contract to match Deng’s dollar value. The No. 3-overall selection would give Chicago the chance to replace Deng with a far younger and less expensive option. Kansas’ Ben McLemore and Georgetown’s Otto Porter both fit the bill of a versatile weapon who can hit jump shots or put the ball on the floor. Further, both have proven they can play defense, a must on a Tom Thibodeau-coached team.
According to Pro Basketball Talk, Cleveland, which currently holds the rights to the No. 1-overall pick, is also has interest in Deng.