Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman has played down speculation that the franchise will look to trade away Luol Deng this summer.
The all-star forward will be able to leave the windy city as a free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season, and rumours have been circulating that the Bulls will look to get a return on the Great Britain international.
But Forman insists that is not the case, with the GM looking to give his ‘big four’ a crack at the NBA Championship next season as Derrick Rose returns from an injury that saw him miss the entire campaign last year.
“Well, we love Luol. We see Luol as a valuable member of this team moving forward, so the window is open to talk about an extension,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
“We’ve had some conversations. Whether something gets done, I don’t know. But whether it’s this summer or next summer, those are conversations we’ll continue to have.
“Our goal has been to bring this group back, and I know [Deng’s] name was floated out there [in trade rumors], but we didn’t initiate calls. We’ve gotten calls of some of our guys, but our goal has been to bring this group back healthy."
The ‘group’ Forman refers to consists of Deng, Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
Without Rose, the Bulls’ legitimate superstar, Chicago still managed to make the play-offs last season, and made a serious dent on the Miami Heat during the play-offs.
And, Forman believes that with all of the players available, this team could go even further.
“I don’t want to put a ceiling on what they could become,” he concluded.
“I think they’ve shown when healthy we can have a certain level of success."