Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Chicago Bulls, in their latest attempt to gauge the trade value of All-Star swingman Luol Deng, have had exploratory discussions with Washington about a deal that would land Deng with the Wizards and bring the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s draft to the Bulls.
The most likely trade construction, if talks were to progress to the serious stage, would send Deng to the Wizards for the No. 3 pick and center Emeka Okafor, who would have to formally opt into his contract for next season ($14.5 million) this week for the trade to go through.
This is a bit surprising. Jimmy Butler looked impressive in the playoffs, so the Bulls are probably smart to look at what’s available for Deng’s expiring contract, but there are probably better deals to be found. With Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah on the roster, it’s hard to see Okafor fitting in with Chicago. It’s likely that the Bulls like Otto Porter and would hope to pick him with the No. 3 pick.
What is probably so attractive about this deal for the Bulls is the fact that they would save money (wouldn’t need to re-sign Deng after next season) and also get a top 3 pick that could potentially be a solid role player.
As for the Wizards, they would surrender their pick but fill their small forward gap with an All-Star who works hard and is a good defensive player. Still, Deng’s contract is expiring and it could seem that the Wizards would be giving up too much for him.