Paxson: Deng Trade Provides Flexibility Moving Foward
(WSCR) The Bulls traded Luol Deng with one thing in mind – the future of the organization.
After trading Deng and waiving Andrew Bynum, the Bulls are now under the salary cap and will save close to $20 million.
“This will give us the opportunity to get a more complete roster,” Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson told The Mully and Hanley Show on Wednesday. “We need that. We need to give Tom (Thibodeau) and his staff some other options as well.”
Paxson said the Bulls decided to trade Deng once it became clear they had no chance of re-signing him after the 2013-14 season. So, they cut ties with the 28-year-old small forward, who had spent his first 10 seasons in the league with the Bulls.
In addition to gaining draft picks, the trade allows the Bulls to pursue a big-name free agent in the offseason.
“It’s a league of stars,” Paxson said. “We need Derrick (Rose) to come back and play at a very, very high level. The criticism has been not finding another guy when we lost out on that summer of free agency. You’re always looking to do that. What flexibility does, is it gives you the opportunity to jump if something arises.”
Paxson also dismissed the notion that high-profile free agents don’t want to play in Chicago.
“I don’t think so. I guess the criticism comes from the year when LeBron (James) was a free agent and we didn’t get him,” he said. “I guess that means we can’t get free agents? I don’t know. I do believe your reputation starts at the top, and Jerry Reinsdorf has one of the best reputations, if not the best, of any owner in our league.”
For the full interview, please click here.