Finally, some clarity.
Not just speculation or offseason rumors, but some good old fashioned, here’s-the-plan talk from Bulls general manager Gar Forman.
A plan that will include All-Star forward Luol Deng staying put for at least one more season.
“Well, we love Luol,’’ Forman, who arrived into Vegas on Monday to watch Summer League play, said. “We see Luol as a valuable member of this team moving forward, so the window is open to talk about an extension. We’ve had some conversations. Whether something gets done, I don’t know. But whether it’s this summer or next summer, those are conversations we’ll continue to have.’’
And conversations they have time to have.
Deng becomes a free agent after the 2013-14 campaign. There had been rumors floating around that the Bulls were shopping Deng earlier this summer, but Forman said that wasn’t the case.
With Derrick Rose deemed 100 percent for the start of preseason after missing all of last year with the torn left anterior cruciate ligament, the decision had been made early on to let this core group of Rose, Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer have one more go at it.
One last stand.
“I mean our goal has been to bring this group back, and I know [Deng’s] name was floated out there [in trade rumors], but we didn’t initiate calls,’’ Forman said. “We’ve gotten calls on some of our guys, but our goal has been to bring this group back healthy.’’
After this season? Well, all bets are off.
Deng can test the market and Boozer can be amnestied with just one more year on his contract. That would still keep a core of Noah, Rose and Jimmy Butler together, but also give Forman and the Bulls a financial flexibility they haven’t had in years.
The kind of flexibility that will allow them to at least be players in the sequel to LeBron James’ next decision.
“Here’s the thing: We put this team together and then the new CBA came out,’’ Forman said. “The new CBA is very restrictive in your ability to improve your basketball team because it’s taken away a lot of the avenues there are to continue to build your team. So I’ve talked about it as almost a stock market correction.
“We like our team, we have a good group of guys, but we haven’t had flexibility. Next summer will be the first chance we have to have some level of flexibility in order to add to the team.
Finally, some clarity.