At some point, it's clear that extension talks between Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls that began in the summer and were tabled in the fall became contentious. So much so that the organization decided to part ways with the franchise’s fourth leading scorer and ship him to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week.
Gar Forman publicly maintained optimism that the Bulls and Deng could come to an agreement on a long-term deal, and after the trade it was reported -- and later confirmed by John Paxson -- that an offer of $10 million per year was put on the table. Deng ultimately rejected that offer.
But there are two sides to every story, and in addressing the media after his first practice as a member of the Cavs on Wednesday, Deng gave his side on how the final offer was presented to him.
"My thing is in the summer, I never came with a number," Deng told the Chicago Tribune. "I heard on the radio that I asked for 15 [million]. I would never ask for a number. We came to [general manager Gar Forman] last summer and we wanted to sit down and talk. And Gar didn't want to talk. [The Bulls] felt like they wanted to wait and see how everything goes with Derrick [Rose]."
"Three days before the trade, Gar called me upstairs and put three years, $30 million on the table. Take it or leave it. No negotiation. I said, 'No,' and that was it. But 15? That's the only thing that upset me. I'm not upset with the organization. I want everyone to understand that."
Deng’s agent, Herb Rudoy, had also previously stated that there were no negotiations with the Bulls and that every offer was given in the same manner: take it or leave it. Deng has long maintained that he wanted to remain in Chicago and continued to express the same sentiment on Wednesday.
"I wanted to be in Chicago," he said. "I thought I was going to end my career there. Not talking during last summer, did that hurt me? Yeah. And then you come back with 10 [million]. Who knows what I would've taken in the summer? That's the part that is really bothering me. Other than that, I have no issues at all. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for them either."