The easy part is over: Bulls resign Deng
I wonder if John Paxson shopped Luol Deng around the league at all. There is no question that Deng’s stock was higher both within the organization and league-wide following last season, but my dreams of putting together a package of Deng and Gordon for someone like Carmelo Anthony was probably never realistic in the first place. By accepting a 6-year, $71 million deal from the Bulls, Deng really only hurt himself. The offer he rejected last year from the Bulls, 5-years at $57 million, probably would have been a lot better move on his part. He’ll only receive about 400k more annually, and he lost two years on when he could have signed his next phat contract. Still, resigning Deng was absolutely necessary, and kudos to Paxson for getting it done.
No one should fret: the Bulls didn’t give Deng too much money. Matt from BaB hit the nail on the head a week ago:
The Bulls drafted these players, they own their rights. The CBA is set up so that it's easier for teams to retain their own players at the expense of their ability to get other team's players. That means it's even more important to draft smart, and sign who you drafted.
Precisely. So the Bulls did what they had to do- lock up their best player for six more seasons- with hardly any downside involved.
That isn’t to say Deng is a great player, because he isn’t and he’ll never become one. But he could be a fantastic third option on a title team (he may be ready for that role now), and he’s young enough to continue fine tuning his game. I’ve always argued that just because Deng is young doesn’t necessarily mean he has a high ceiling. He isn’t particularly athletic, and can’t shoot threes to save his life. But whatever. Deng is perfect complimentary part, and now that the Bulls have their franchise player (Rose) in place, we just have to wait for him to develop. Sure, Pax still needs to find Rose a running mate (hint: it’s not Gordon), but there is no need to rush it. Rose won’t bloom (see what I did there?) for at least a season and a half. But with Rose and Deng in place, the Bulls’ future is looking fairly bright.
Now things get tricky with the spotlight turned to Gordon. While I love watching Ben play as a Bulls fan, as an internet GM I want no part of him. I don’t think he pairs well with Rose because of his defensive deficiencies, but I realize it will be hard to trade him for equal value. I think I want Gordon to sign the one-year tender, which means he’ll be a free agent after next year. There is no need to lose your second best player this season if you can’t get value in return, and maybe the Bulls will be able to sell him off at the trade deadline next year. I still wouldn’t mind dealing Gordon now for a draft pick and someone like Miami’s Udonis Haslem or Portland’s Martell Webster, deals that could probably get done if Pax wanted to make it happen.
The Bulls biggest need for the future now is a go-to scorer, and the best way to find one is at shooting guard. Gordon, who is a good player, simply will never be able to fill the role of a primary scorer on a title winning team. I won’t be totally upset if the Bulls resign Gordon to a $10 million a year contract, but I just think that’s a Band-Aid more than anything.
Check out my list on TTCS today on why Madden is greater than schoolwork. White Sox post tomorrow, after Floyd schools Livan.