The former Knicks and Rockets coach who is now an analyst for ESPN pointed to the Carmelo Anthony trade from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks in 2011. The Nuggets received forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, guard Raymond Felton and center Timofey Mozgov, plus New York's first-round draft pick in 2014, second-round picks in 2012 and 2013 and cash in exchange for Anthony, who, like Deng, was playing in the final year of his contract. For Deng, the Bulls received center Andrew Bynum, whom they waived for financial savings, and a protected first-round draft pick.
"Even if you don't believe that Luol Deng is as good as Anthony, he's pretty close because he's a two-way player. ... He's not as good, but they didn't get much back for him," Van Gundy said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000. "They only got rid of Bynum's contract, and to me, when you're trading no question your second-best player, and I don't think anybody can question that, and you get very little back for him ... I was surprised they didn't explore trading for guys who have similar-sized contracts that weren't going to expire to see if they could have gotten more of a Carmelo Anthony-type haul where they had real valuable assets."
With Deng off the books, the cap savings from the Bynum deal and the potential to use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer's contract this summer, the Bulls could be in position to add another star player next to Derrick Rose. But Van Gundy says it's not that easy.
"Everybody talks in abstract like those guys are lining up to either go to Chicago or there are a lot of guys out there," Van Gundy said. "You can say we want to do better than Deng, but there's very limited players in this league that are available that are better than Deng, and they will cost huge money, too, more than Deng would cost. To me, when you have a guy in his prime who is a very good two-way player, those guys are hard to find. You're going to be, in Chicago, hoping that you find a guy as good as Deng."
One of those star options could be Anthony, who has been the subject of recent trade rumors. Does Van Gundy believe the Knicks star would be a good fit with the Bulls?
"I'm not sure how much [the Bulls] like Carmelo Anthony because he was available when the Knicks traded for him and Chicago had made the point that they weren't interested at that time in trading some assets for him," Van Gundy said. "So I'm not sure if they like him. Carmelo Anthony is an incredible offensive force, so any team that needs offensive punch ... and certainly when you look at Chicago, lowest scoring team in the NBA, they need some offensive punch. If you can find good offensive players or great offensive players, certainly that would be great.
"They do need to add shooting no matter what offensive players they have because if you have Derrick Rose, or let's say another star, who it's imperative that they get to the basket, the only way you get to the basket is through spacing. And the only way you space the floor in today's NBA is with great 3-point shooting. It's imperative that they replace the Korvers and the Belinellis that they've lost, those spacing players, as well as get more offensive-minded players."