GM: Bulls didn't shop Luol Deng

Updated: June 29, 2012, 10:15 AM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Thursday the organization didn't make any serious efforts to trade forward Luol Deng or any of the team's core players before the NBA draft.

"Were we actively shopping our players? Absolutely not," Forman said after the Bulls drafted Kentucky guard Marquis Teague with the 29th pick. "Are there conversations? All 30 teams have conversations about everybody on their roster. But we like the core of this team, and it's our job to continue to try to put pieces around Derrick (Rose) and some of the other core guys and try to continue to trend up."

Trade rumors swirled around Deng in recent weeks, and he recently acknowledged them and said he wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls moved him. Deng is preparing to play for Great Britain in the upcoming London Olympics.

"I believe there is always to some extent truth behind rumors," Deng said on Sunday. "But as an athlete, if you get caught up in them, you are really wasting your time because it's not something you can control.

"If it's not true, a GM could always come out and say it's not true. But if a GM doesn't come out and say it, there are probably talks. And there should be. If I was a GM, I would be shopping players around, too. I've got to show that I'm doing something."

Forman said the Bulls are still confident they're only a few pieces away from accomplishing their goals, and they aren't looking dismantle their core group.

"I've said this before pretty consistently: We like the core group of guys we have," Forman said. "We like the direction in which we're headed. It was obviously disappointing how the season ended this season with the injuries. I've said I think in the short term we've taken a little bit of a hit. We've hit a bump in the road. As far as what we're looking at long term, we still feel we're headed in the right direction.

"The decision tonight and decisions we make into July, we're still going to keep the big picture in mind."

Forman said money wouldn't be a factor in adding or subtracting players this summer.

"The financial piece is always something you look at, but (chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf) has been very consistent with us that we want to try to put together the best basketball team we can put together," Forman said. "Our decisions up to this point and our decisions this summer will be basketball decisions. They won't be financial decisions."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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