Team GB star had to explain to his mother why he was leaving Windy City.
Former Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng has revealed that he is excited about his new challenge after securing a trade move to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 29-year-old has spent the last ten years with the Bulls, but was traded to the Cavaliers in return for Andrew Bynum, who was immediately waived, and three future draft picks.
While the Team GB star has admitted that he will find it difficult to leave his friends in Chicago behind, the most difficult part of the process was explaining why he was leaving to his mother.
“She couldn’t understand why,” he said, according to ESPN.
“She feels like I’m a nice guy, I get along with everybody, so I had to explain to her. She was asking me, ‘Are you not playing well? What’s going on?’ That was the hardest part.”
Deng practised with his new team-mates for the first time on Wednesday and is expected to make his debut in the trip to the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
However, he has conceded that he didn’t see the trade coming but accepts that it is just business and is now looking forward to a new chapter in his career rather than looking back on the disappointment of leaving Chicago.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he said.
“Not a lot of guys can say they’ve been with one organization for too long. I was definitely surprised. You hear stuff, you hear rumors, but some of it’s true and some of it’s not. When it happened, I couldn’t believe it. It took a while to hit me. But it’s not like I’m stopping from playing basketball. I’ve been traded from one great organization to another one.”
Cleveland will be relying on Deng to make a difference both on and off the court in the coming seasons, adding his experience to a young and talented roster containing the likes of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
The forward has averaged 19 points and 6.9 rebounds so far this season and coach Mike Brown is excited about what he can bring to the team.
It is understood that Deng initially turned down an offer of a contract extension with the Bulls, who then accelerated their efforts in rebuilding the roster by trading him and looking to the future after having to deal with another season-ending injury suffered by point guard Derrick Rose.
Deng’s contract expires at the end of the season, but having been left impressed with the facilities in Cavaliers so far, he has admitted that he would be open to signing a long-term deal.