Report: Deng eyes free agency after talks end
The agent for Luol Deng said the Chicago Bulls forward will explore free agency in 2014 after the team tabled contract extension talks until after the season, according to a report.
Agent Herb Rudoy told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that the Bulls informed him last week there would be no talks this offseason or during training camp to extend the contract of the two-time All-Star, who is entering the final year of a six-year, $71 million deal. Comcast SportsNet reported Monday that contract talks with Deng had stalled.
Amid reports that the Bulls and Deng were engaged in extension talks since the end of last season, Rudoy told ESPNChicago.com's Nick Friedell in June that there had been no negotiations. Sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein in June that the Bulls were gauging Deng's value by having exploratory discussions with the Washington Wizards about a deal that would have sent Deng to the Wizards for the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft and Emeka Okafor's expiring contract.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman has maintained that Deng is still a core player of the team.
"We value Luol, as you all know," Forman said on June 28. "You've heard [Bulls coach] Tom [Thibodeau] talk about it during the season, and us talk about it for years. Luol's a big piece of what we're doing. He's been a big piece of the success we've had the last couple years. He'll continue to be a big piece of what we're doing moving forward."
Deng, who led the NBA in minutes per game in the regular season (38.7) and postseason (44.8 in five games), missed the last seven games of the playoffs with complications from a spinal tap.
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