Luol Deng's future with the Chicago Bulls took an uncertain twist on Thursday evening, after Tony Snell was selected in the NBA Draft to play for the Eastern Conference franchise.
The 28-year-old small forward is understood to have held discussions over a new contract with the Bulls, but as talks continue to stall, speculation is mounting that Deng could be on his way out.
With just one year remaining on his $14.3million deal with Chicago, time could be up for the two-time All-Star, who was the Bulls' first-round draft pick in 2004, on his way to competing for the franchise in nine consecutive seasons since.
Deng has been the most reliable player over the past three seasons, with coach Tom Thibodeau calling upon the 6ft 9in star more than any other member of his roster.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman reiterated Deng's importance to the franchise on Thursday evening, saying: "We value Luol as you all know. Luol's a big piece of what we're doing.
"He's been a big piece of the success we've had the last couple years. And he'll continue to be a big piece of what we do moving forward."