On Thursday afternoon, the Bulls signed a familiar face in Luol Deng…to retire a Bull. Back in 2004 Deng was (basically) drafted by the Bulls and spent the next 10 seasons playing in the house that Jordan built for the city of Chicago.
Deng had a message for all the fans that supported him during his time in Chicago:
During his time with the Bulls, Deng:
- Averaged 16.0 pts, 6.3 rebs, 2.5 ast, and 1.0 stl per game
- Led the league in minutes per game in the 2011-12 (39.4) and 2012-13 (38.7) seasons (A storied Bulls tradition that Jimmy Butler took over the following year)
- Made the All-Rookie First Team in 2005
- Was a 2-time All-Star in 2012 and 2013
- Made the NBA All-Defensive team in 2012
- Won the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2007
- He’s also up there in the Bulls” All-Time Career Leaders List in more categories than you’d think. To name a few: Seasons played (T-4th, 10), games played (6th, 637), minutes (5th, 22,882), points (4th, 10,286), field goals made (5th, 3,987), field goals attempted (5th, 8,675), defensive rebounds (6th, 2,969), and steals (5th, 639)
Luol Deng meant quite a bit to the Chicago Bulls during his time with the team and that point was reiterated by the team today:
“From the moment we made Luol Deng the seventh overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls became a better team,” said Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson. “Luol carried himself with first-class professionalism and leadership, helping lead his Bulls team to eight playoff appearances during his time in Chicago. We’ll always remember his All-Star career and the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night.”Via NBA.com
In 2013-14, Deng received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, which is given out by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to a player or coach who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community. Not only did he bring it on the court, but brought it outside the game of basketball as well.
Over the last 5.5 seasons Deng spent time with the Cavs, the Heat, the Lakers, and most recently reunited with Thibs in Minnesota. Some probably didn’t even know Deng was still in the league last year due to constant injuries, but this retirement should come as no surprise. It was time.
I’m glad the Bulls agreed to do this. Chicago won’t be building statues of him outside the United Center, but he’ll always be a Bull, and was a damn good one.