Contract talks on hold, Luol Deng's agent says free agency is happening

Can Chicago Bulls fans say goodbye to Luol Deng?  It's certainly a possibility as contract negotiations have stalled and fizzled out altogether.  The team has decided to table all contract talks until after the upcoming season says K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.  Deng's agent say this will ensure his client becomes a free agent next summer.

Deng, who battled through a few bumps and bruises last season but ultimately helped the Bulls as much as possible in Derrick Rose's absence, has been unable to get close in negotiations for a contract extension with Chicago.

"Luol has taken the position that he will definitely go through the free-agent process," said Herb Rudoy, Deng's Chicago-based agent. 

Players and agents will often use any leverage they can in a contract negotiation.  However, teams generally don't take kindly to ultimatums.  It would not be surprising to see the Bulls let Deng walk via free agency.  Of course, that would be an emotional decision, and the Bulls need Deng.

Deng averaged 16.5 points and 6.3 boards last season.  In his nine-year career, Deng has averaged 16.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.  That type of production is something the Bulls do not want to lose.  However, they are not willing to overpay for it.

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