Although it’s not a primary concern at this point given the Bulls 1-3 record in the regular season, Luol Deng’s lack of a contract with Chicago beyond this season will eventually become a topic of conversation once again.
Before the Bulls played the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday, the All-Star – as he always has – expressed a desire to remain in Chicago and finish put his career wearing a Bulls uniform.
“I definitely want to stay here," Deng told ESPN Chicago. “I would love to play here my whole career.”
The Bulls tabled any extension talks in August, preferring instead to wait until the season’s end, which, if the Bulls don’t win a championship, could bring an end to Deng’s run as the longest tenured player on the roster.
“I've seen players in the past who wanted to stay with their team and it didn't work out,” he said. “At the end of the day, I can't control that.”
To his credit, Deng says he isn’t concerned about next summer. The team has much bigger problems, like trying to figure out a way out of their current slump. But he admits that the prospect of not being in Chicago past this season is in his mind, albeit in the back.
“I'm a human being, so of course it's in the back of my mind. 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,” Deng said. “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.”