Luol Deng: Hopes to stay with Bulls
Deng, who is in the last year of a six-year, $71 million contract, acknowledged being disappointed that the Bulls did not offer him a contract extension in the offseason. But he added that he still wants to finish his career in Chicago.
"I definitely want to stay here," Deng said Wednesday at the morning shootaround before the Bulls' game at Indiana. "I would love to play here my whole career."
Despite his desire, Deng understands he may not get his wish. With the Bulls refusing to discuss an extension with Deng this summer, the small forward will become a free agent in 2014.
"I've seen players in the past who wanted to stay with their team and it didn't work out," said Deng, who has played only for the Bulls since being drafted by Phoenix and traded to Chicago on a draft-night deal in 2004. "At the end of the day, I can't control that."
Early in his career, Deng was often rumored to be on the trading block. At the time, he conceded being bothered by the seemingly constant rumors.
But now, the 28-year-old Deng said he is better at handling the business of basketball and not letting it affect his play on the court.
"I'm a human being, so of course it's in the back of my mind," he said. "But honestly, I really don't think about it unless [the media] brings it up. The older you get, the more you appreciate where you are and the more confidence you have in what you can do.
"I understand that's something I can't control, so I'm not going to waste a lot of energy worrying about what next year holds."
Nonetheless, Deng, an All-Star the past two seasons, is off to his worst start in years. He is averaging just 13.7 points per game, his lowest average since his rookie season, while suffering career lows in field goal percentage (.409) and rebounds (5.0).