According to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein earlier today, the Chicago Bulls are once again exploring Luol Deng’s trade value and have entered “exploratory discussions” with the Washington Wizards about a possible trade. As of now the outlined trade would send Luol Deng and his expiring contract to the Washington Wizards for the Emeka Okafor’s expiring deal and the third pick in this year’s draft. If the deal were to happen it would be contingent on Okafor opting into his contract.
Under the proposed deal the Bulls would further enter the luxury tax this coming season as Okafor’s contract is larger than Deng’s and the third round draft pick would at least secure a $3 million per year deal having been drafted so highly. Ultimately this would not affect the rumored 2014 plan as Okafur’s $14.5 million contract would come off the books at the close of the season.
Since the departure of Omer Asik last year the Bulls have been looking for a new big man to play behind Joakim Noah. Most mock drafts have the Bulls filling this role by drafting a big man with their currently owned 20th pick. With this trade the Bulls would be able to fill the need for another center while also being able to draft a rookie replacement for Deng. Who they would draft at this spot is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that a small forward or shooting guard who can create his own shot and/or shoot the three point shot respectably would be drafted.
Ultimately the likelihood of this trade going through is pretty slim. The trade wouldn’t give the Wizards any more cap relief than they’re already set to have nor would their be any guarantee that Deng would stick around after the 2013-2014 NBA season. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune via Twitter, “Cant see Wizards giving up No. 3 and Okafor for Deng… unless Deng says he’ll resign. Which I also don’t see.”
Stranger trades have happened in the past so while unlikely, this trade is not completely out of the realm of possibility. As the story continues to develop, we at BBTH will keep you updated.
UPDATE: According to Michael Lee of the Washington Post, the Wizards have stated they have no interest in trading the third pick in this year’s draft for Luol Deng.