The Bulls and Luol Deng's representative continue to negotiate and occasionally make progress toward a long-term extension, which is noteworthy considering this:
Deng could have been Josh Childress.
The former Hawks forward created headlines this week with his pioneering decision to leave the NBA for a three-year, roughly $20 million contract with the Greek club Olympiacos.
Sources said Olympiacos team officials first approached Deng through his agent, Jason Levien, to gauge the restricted free agent's interest in leaving the NBA. While no formal offer was made, one source said parameters far more lucrative than Childress' were discussed. Foreign teams are not bound by the NBA collective bargaining agreement's restrictions when a player's contract is up.
Levien has a relationship with Olympiacos officials after negotiating a three-year, $5 million contract with former Seattle SuperSonics draft pick Yotam Halperin. Citing Deng's desire to remain in the NBA, Levien declined.
Deng also has said he wants to remain with the Bulls, and negotiations remain cordial and professional. Proposals have been exchanged, with one source saying three-, four- and six-year deals still are being discussed.