The Washington Wizards do not intend to deal the No. 3 overall pick to the Chicago Bulls in a deal for all-star forward Luol Deng, according to two league sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
ESPN.com is reporting that the Bulls and Wizards have had exploratory talks about a trade that would also include sending center Emeka Okafor to Chicago. Okafor, according to the report, would have to formally opt in to his $14.5 million option this week for the deal to be completed.
When informed of the report, one source said there was “no truth” to the rumored trade proposal for Deng.
A 10-year veteran and two-time all-star, Deng, 28, averaged 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists last season in Chicago. He is slated to earn $14.2 million next season and would become a free agent in the summer of 2014. In other words, the Wizards would have to sacrifice their best interior defender and a potential franchise building block for a possible one-year rental.
After the emergence of swingman Jimmy Butler during the playoffs last season, Deng is perhaps more expendable but unlikely to join John Wall and Bradley Beal in Washington. The Wizards have had discussions with several teams but the team still intends to make a selection Thursday, according to another league source.