Talks stall over an extension ahead of the new season.
The agent of Luol Deng has reportedly suggested that his client will explore free agency next summer after contract talks with the Chicago Bulls stalled.
According to ESPN, Herb Rudoy told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that the Bulls had informed him last week that there would be no more talks this offseason or in training camp over an extension for Deng.
The 28-year-old is entering the final year of his six-year deal worth $71m, but despite claims from the franchise that he remains a vital piece of the roster, reports across the media in Chicago suggest that talks have now stopped.
Sources had previously told ESPN that there had been no negotiations since the end of last season, while the Bulls also reportedly evaluated Deng’s worth ahead of exploratory discussions with the Washington Wizards over a possible trade deal involving Emeka Okafor.
While that has not been confirmed by either franchise, it is still believed that Deng is no closer to agreeing an extension with the Eastern Conference giants, and he now faces the possibility of leaving the city next summer.
Back in June, Bulls general manager Gar Forman spoke up Deng’s importance to the franchise, labelling him as a “big piece” of what they’re doing moving forward. While he went on to add that he envisages Deng continuing to be influential for the Bulls, nearly three months on there has been no sign of a new agreement.
Deng led the NBA in minutes per game last season (38.7) and in the postseason (44.8 in five games) but couldn’t help prevent a semi-finals defeat to the Miami Heat after complications arose following a spinal tap.