The Chicago Bulls have agreed to let Luol Deng play in the 2012 London Olympics for Great Britain, reports the BBC's Rob Dugdale. But if Deng plays, it could cost the emerging British Basketball a high premium to insure his health.
How much could it cost? Somewhere in the neighborhood of £300,000, Gallagher reports. That converts to nearly $470,000.
Deng tore a ligament in his left wrist in January, but he has been putting off surgery on the wrist for two reasons. First, he wanted to help the Bulls in their playoff run. Now, he wants to play for his home country in the Olympics. He didn't back off that desire following the Bulls' first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers.
"I’m looking forward to playing in the Olympics," Deng said. "I’m excited about it. It's something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, and I'll prepare myself for it."
Deng has garnered some controversy from his desire to play in the Olympics. If he elects to have surgery on his wrist, he will likely need three to four months to rehabilitate the injury. That would cause him to miss some of the next NBA season. That would add to the Bulls' injury woes heading into next season, as star point guard Derrick Rose already could miss the entire season after tearing his ACL in the series against the 76ers.
Chris Spice, the performance director for British Basketball, released a statement saying it would be difficult to insure Deng at the high cost. "His wrist situation will make this exorbitant premium even more expensive and we will have to make sacrifices to all our other programmes if we are to make this happen," Spice said. "It is difficult, but there is only one Luol Deng and there is only one London 2012 Olympic Games."