Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng (9) drives to the basket around Brooklyn Nets' Gerald Wallace (45) during the first half in Game 4 of their first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 27, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
Updated: July 30, 2013 7:56AM
If forward Luol Deng and the Bulls are talking contract extension, as one rumor indicated, that would be news to both sides.
Deng’s camp maintains that all has been quiet on that front, and the Bulls have been knee-deep in draft scouting reports, making an occasional call to see if there are any takers for shooting guard Richard Hamilton.
But as one NBA scout indicated during the Finals last week, any of the teams that are serious about dethroning the Heat in the Eastern Conference next season should sit tight until the first domino falls in Miami.
Game 6 hero Ray Allen can opt out of his contract, and there’s still speculation that the Heat could break up its “Big Three’’ by trading Chris Bosh. Also, the 2014 free-agent class could be headlined by four-time MVP LeBron James.
If he decides to leave Miami, James will be looking for a team that can afford him and has championship capabilities. The Bulls, with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler, would fit that description.
But giving Deng an extension would take the Bulls out of that argument.
As the Bulls learned in the summer of James’ move from the Cavaliers, consolation prizes such as Carlos Boozer aren’t bad, but they’re not James.
Moving on up
There are several teams with multiple picks in the first round of the draft, but none has been more aggressive about trying to move up than the Thunder.
Oklahoma City is trying to move into the top five by trading Nos. 12 and 29, and the hope is the Suns at No. 5 could be a taker.
All eyes on him
Marquis Teague, the Bulls’ 2012 first-round pick, is not having much of a summer break, considering the work the team is putting him through now and into next month’s summer-league play, but his development would be huge.
If he can show enough in the next five weeks, the Bulls, with limited funds for free agency, can focus on the front line rather than the backcourt.
As it stands now, the Bulls will start Rose and Butler in the backcourt, with veteran Kirk Hinrich able to play either guard spot and Teague at backup point guard.