- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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"I know a lot of guys want to play for us," Deng said Friday afternoon. "I haven't really spoken to anyone directly that wants to come here, but I've heard guys mention it and guys tell other guys. It's just an exciting time to be a part of this team right now. And as hard as we play, a lot of guys want to be a part of it. And also, a lot of guys want to play with Derrick [Rose]. I'm sure it won't be very hard if the guys upstairs to get guys to come in."
While Deng wouldn't mind seeing all his old teammates come back, he acknowledges that it wouldn't hurt for the Bulls to add another piece.
"Honestly, I think you could do a lot of things to always make the team better," he admitted. "But I always say, it always sounds good on paper. You could say a bunch of names and it's going to sound good. Really, when we walk in the locker room, whoever's there is who you're going to fight with. I really feel in the locker room last year, especially in the way we lost, I think guys are going to come in, we're going to fight. It was a long summer. And you feel like everyone in the locker room wants to get back and fight together. But then again, I'm sure you could make additions that are going to make us better but we're not going to be able to tell until we get going."
Deng spent his summer traveling the globe playing for the British national team in the European Championships and doing charity work in Sudan. He is happy to be back at work at the Berto Center. The veteran forward admitted that there was a time he thought the season might not happen, but now that the NBA's labor squabble has met a resolution, he believes the Bulls have an advantage given that the team's core will be returning.
"I think most of the guys are familiar with what we do," he said. "It's still a short time, you want a longer time, but with the way we practice and having the same guys back I think it will help us a lot. We kind of know, or I feel like I know what practices are going to be like and most guys do so we're going to spend a lot of time trying to fill guys in."
Deng believes the Bulls will benefit from a condensed schedule.
"I think it's a positive. A lot of people look at it in a bad way but it's less practices for [Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau]," he said with a laugh. "Less practices, less running. It's definitely going to be something different, but I really think we're going to be prepared. I really think we're going to benefit from it. With the team we have, our bench is great. We'll use them well."
The 26-year-old said he is looking forward to being around his teammates again, but he was concerned they might give him a hard time for the mini Mohawk he's sporting. After sitting out for so long because of the lockout, he's willing to take some good-natured abuse, though.
"It's been a while," he said. "It was really boring. Really boring. It gave you time to really miss the game even more. So [I'm] just happy to be back."
Luol Deng believes Chicago is an attractive destination for free agents.