Luol Deng, Bulls continue extension talks

The Vertical
Yahoo! Sports

Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman met with the representatives of Luol Deng to continue discussions on parameters of a contract extension this week, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Forman and Deng's agents, Ron Shade and Herb Rudoy, met on Monday in Chicago to further dialogue on parameters for an extension, league sources said.

Deng, 28, has one year, $14.3 million on his deal and could become part of the star-filled free-agent class of 2014 if he doesn't reach a long-term agreement with the Bulls.

The market has begun to be set for Deng's contract in this summer's free agency, with free agents Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith setting the standard for All-Star-caliber small forwards. Iguodala signed a four-year, $48 million deal with Golden State, and Smith signed a four-year, $56 million agreement with Detroit.

Several league executives told Yahoo! Sports they believe Deng's value on the market is somewhere between those two deals.

The Bulls' desire to stay under the luxury-tax threshold could jeopardize the franchise's ability to pay Deng market value, but the organization has repeatedly insisted he's an integral part of their plan.

Deng has been recovering and working his way back to full strength this summer. He missed Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference first-round victory over Brooklyn and the entire conference semifinal loss to Miami after complications arose from a spinal tap.

A personal favorite of coach Tom Thibodeau and a popular teammate, Deng averaged 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and three assists per game for Chicago. Deng was the Bulls' first-round draft pick in 2004 and has played nine seasons with the franchise.

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