Well, with the NFL starting now, it’s not so bad. But the NBA is still really, really, news-less at the moment, so let’s clean up a couple of small news and notes for the Chicago Bulls.
First, the more important of the two nuggets I have today: the Bulls and Luol Deng have broken off contract extension talks. Aggrey Sam of Comcast SportsNet Chicago reported the news that the Bulls decided to postpone contract talks with Deng and his representation until after the season.
The Bulls, who have always valued finances (often to the detriment of team-building), are apparently willing to risk losing Deng to unrestricted free agency if his salary demand is too high. I wrote earlier in the summer about the dilemma the Bulls face with Deng, and since then, the “2014 Plan” idea has had holes poked in it, with the potential salary cap room overestimated by many (myself included). In that case, the options seem to be keep Deng at too-high a salary, or let Deng walk but lower the team’s talent level (as the roughly $8-9 million they will probably have won’t be much to work with to replace Deng’s production and talent). Sam specculates that Deng will most likely make around $12 to $14 million dollars, a number comparable to other upper-tier small forwards like Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith.
Looks complicated and, frankly, somewhat dreary for Bulls fans.
Second tidbit of news: the Bulls invited veteran point guard Mike James to training camp. Woohoo!
James would be a long shot to make the season-opening roster, I would presume, as the Bulls have Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and second-year first-round pick Marquis Teague at the point guard position. Perhaps the coaching staff wants some insurance if Teague doesn’t pan out, or wants to protect against an inevitable Hinrich nagging injury.
Or, it’s early September and the Bulls front office got bored.