Earlier in the summer, Bulls GM Gar Forman had several discussions with Deng’s agents over a potential extension, according to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, but Chicago reportedly walked away from the table in August at the risk of allowing the longest-tenured Bull to test the open market.
“We were optimistic,” a source said. “Our goal was to get an extension done this summer. If that’s not what they want to do, so be it.
Deng has one year remaining on his deal and could be another piece of a potential blockbuster free agent class.
The versatile forward posted averages of 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season.
A list of small forwards who could opt out of their current deals includes Miami Heat star LeBron James, New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony and recent Toronto Raptors acquisition Rudy Gay.
It is believed that Deng could fetch deals similar to what Josh Smith (four years, reportedly $56 million) signed with the Detroit Pistons and Andre Iguodala (four years, reportedly $48 million) signed with the Golden State Warriors in July.