Bulls forward Luol Deng made public that he will not be shocked if the team trades him this offseason.
While at training camp in Texas with Great Britain’s national team preparing for the London Olympics, Deng announced he does not think the Chicago Bulls are shopping him in retaliation for his call to delay the wrist surgery he wishes till after the Olympic Games.
But Deng, 27-year-old, did acknowledge that he isn’t dismissing recent reports advising the Chicago Bulls are prepared to trade him for a top pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, with speculation mounting that Chicago could send Deng to the Golden State Warriors in return for the No. 7 overall pick. Betting lines
“I believe there’s always to a point truth behind rumors,” Deng recounted. “But as an athlete, if you get wrapped up in them, you are really wasting your time because it’s not something you can manage.
“If it’s not true, a General Manager could always come out and say it is not true. But if a GM does not come out and say it, there are likely talks. And there should be. If I was a General Manager I would be shopping players around, too. I’ve got to show that I’m doing something.
“A lot of GMs don’t just sit there, they’re trying their options. Me, I like to say there are 2 things when trades occur — if I was to be let go by a team and no-one picks me up, that’s likely the most horrible thing. But if you hear your name in a trade that implies there is somebody at the other end who wants you.
Deng had been carrying a wrist ligament injury for most of the season, yet still led the league in seconds with 39.4 per game.
However, Bulls management told Deng it might have preferred him to miss the Olympic Games — the 1st in which Britain will enter a basketball team since 1948 — in order to go through surgery that would guarantee his health for the beginning of the 2012-13 NBA season.
In a tense exit interview before Deng left Chicago, he told Bulls management that he would not entertain the chance of missing out on the Games and presented a debate that he may not, in any case, require surgery before the start of the season.
Deng, though, doesn’t think the Bulls have acted responding to his position.
“I don’t think so,” he revealed. “Coach Tom Thibodeau and I have a very close relationship. I spoke to (General Manager) Gar (Forman), I talked to (VP of basketball operations John) Paxson, and it’s one of those things you do not need to bring up.
“I wouldn’t want me to play (in the Olympics) either. Pax is an athlete and, as a athlete who used to play, Pax understands me wanting to play. But as a General Manager that is his job to attempt to get the team healthy and get the team ready for next year. I comprehend both parts to it.
“But it comes down to an injury that happened at the wrong time. I just try to let people know I’m going to be OK.”