- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Luol Deng's agent understands why the Chicago Bulls handled contract talks the way they did, but said there was no negotation allowed by the organization when it offered a three-year, $30 million contract in the days leading up to his trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"We never negotiated for a second over money," agent Herb Rudoy said Thursday. "It was a take-it-or-leave-it offer. I ran it by Lu and he decided not to accept."
Once Deng declined that offer last week, the wheels began spinning even faster on a deal made Tuesday that sent him to the Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Bynum's contract and three draft picks.
"We did make an attempt to sign Lu," Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said Tuesday. "And to keep him here because we value him. He had the right to say no and he did and that's ... good for him. If he gets out of this what he wants then that's great for him. We don't wish anything against him at all."
Rudoy said he didn't have any issues with the way the Bulls handled the situation. He would have liked to have found a way to keep Deng in Chicago, especially given that Deng had said repeatedly he wanted to retire as a Bull, but it didn't look promising after the Bulls cut off contract talks before this season.
"I think it was fair," Rudoy said of the situation. "I didn't have a problem in the summer [with the way things were handled], didn't have a problem in the fall. ... It was no problem."
Rudoy didn't divulge exactly how far apart he and the Bulls were as far as figures go, but said he is confident Deng will find the money he is seeking on the open market this summer.
How much money is that?
Rudoy isn't sure yet, but he did reference the contract agreed to by the Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala last summer as one he feels would be commensurate to Deng's ability. Iguodala signed for four years and $48 million.
"I think he'll be highly valued around the league," Rudoy said. "He's a very unique person and player."
Rudoy accompanied Deng to Cleveland on Cavs owner Dan Gilbert's private jet once the deal became official. He said that Deng has handled the fluidity of the past few days very well.
"He's terrific," Rudoy said. "He's come a long way from the refugee camp in Egypt. This cannot be unsettling to him. He's a pretty level guy."
As for a potential return to Chicago in the future, Rudoy said he and Deng haven't talked about the possibility.
"Never discussed," Rudoy said. "I have no idea. We didn't talk about it."
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