The Chicago Bulls are considering trading forward Luol Deng, The Daily Herald of suburban Chicago reported Monday. From the report:
That does appear to be one of the strategies under consideration right now, league sources confirmed. A draft camp meeting with North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes was mentioned on the team’s website, but there’s probably no single target.
The Daily Herald report goes on to ask and explain why the Bulls are likely thinking about pulling the trigger on a move. First, the Bulls are "disappointed" that Deng will play in the 2012 London Olympics for Great Britain, thereby postponing surgery on his left wrist. That will delay his return into next season.
Also, there's the more pressing issue of salary-cap and luxury-tax flexibility in the coming years. The Herald's Mike McGraw points out that the foursome of Deng, point guard Derrick Rose and forwards Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer will make a combined $56 million next season. Of the four, Deng is probably the most likely to be moved.
But NBA.com's Sam Smith notes the immediate questions that would come with any potential Deng trade. For one, would any team want to trade a lottery pick for a player that is likely to miss multiple months of next season? From Smith's column:
Though I’ve come up with some scenarios that could lead to a trade of Luol Deng, there remains the question of his torn wrist ligaments and whether he could even pass a trade physical.