Luol Deng is entering the last year of a six-year, $71 million contract with the Chicago Bulls this season. Unfortunately, it sounds like contract extension talks aren't going as well as some had hoped over the summer.
The Bulls have reportedly put the talks on hold, according to CSN Chicago's Aggrey Sam, with his sources saying Deng is likely going to enter next summer as an unrestricted free agent.
"We were optimistic," the source said of the mentality Deng's camp had heading into the late August meeting, approximately two weeks ago. "Our goal was to get an extension done this summer. If that's not what they want to do, so be it.
"We're not upset, Luol isn't upset. We're just looking forward to this season and next summer," continued the individual, who acknowledged that Bulls management expressed how much they value the two-time All-Star, even stating their desire to see him retire in a Bulls uniform. "They were willing to wait and risk losing him next summer as an unrestricted free agent."
It'll be interesting to see what caused the Bulls and Deng's representatives to decide a contract extension wasn't worth getting done this offseason. It could work out either really good or really bad for the Bulls' iron man, though, considering the 2014 free agent class might also include LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Shane Battier realizes retirement could be near
Shane Battier has had a very solid career for a player that hasn't averaged a double-digit scoring average since 2007. That career could be coming to an end soon, but Battier told the South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman that he's not quite sure he's ready to retire quite yet.
The 35-year-old has made some important contributions on the last two Miami Heat championship squads, but isn't sure what the future holds after his contract ends following the upcoming season.
"I'm realistic to where I am at this point in my life," he said, after playing most of last season as a reserve and seeing limited action for an extended stretch of the playoffs. "I'd like to finish my contract strong with the Miami Heat, and then we'll see where we go.
"This door is always open," he said. "This is not a farewell tour, no. But if it is, it is. And I'll enjoy this year and try to make the most of it."
The former Duke standout averaged 6.6 points and shot 43 percent from beyond the arc while receiving about 25 minutes of playing time during last year's regular season.
Brad Stevens happy with his coaching staff
It was widely expected that Brad Stevens would hire an experienced staff after making the jump from the college ranks to the NBA as head coach of the Boston Celtics. The coach apparently believes he found the exact staff he needed, too, telling CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely that he believes he hit a home run with his assistants.
Stevens retained the great Jay Larranaga and Jamie Young from Doc Rivers' staff and then added Ron Adams from the Chicago Bulls and former Celtics player Walter McCarty to round out his coaching staff -- all of which have apparently helped him tremendously in the earlygoings of his coaching tenure:
"The better part of the first month was hiring and getting up to speed," Stevens told CSNNE.com. "I tried to balance everything as much as possible, but hiring was really critical. In hiring coaches, I wanted to prioritize guys that were really humble, really hard working and really intelligent. I really think we hit a home run. All of these guys have been great. They all have great demeanors, great personalities and ... you can tell they're all very much in it for the good of the cause."
Larranaga and Adams have both been considered for NBA head coaching jobs in the past so it's no surprise that Stevens is happy with the way his staff was filled out.
Pelicans backup Darius Miller could miss 12 weeks with injury
Darius Miller didn't see a lot of time as a rookie with the New Orleans Hornets last season. The Pelicans' former second-round pick won't see any time to start this season, unfortunately, as the team announced Monday that he underwent foot surgery and is expected to be out 8-12 weeks.
Miller averaged 2.3 points in 52 games with New Orleans last year, but seemed improved after a nine-game stint in the D-League during the month of January.
Quin Snyder withdrew from 76ers' head coach consideration
The Atlanta Hawks were able to lure coach Quin Snyder back from CSKA Moscow with an assistant job of their own this summer. It turns out they were lucky to keep him, though, as Snyder reportedly decided to withdraw himself from consideration of the Philadelphia 76ers' head coaching job.
The 76ers eventually ended up a different well-respected assistant in Brett Brown, but it's worth wondering if things might've changed if Snyder hadn't pulled himself from the running as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore reports:
* You remember that Hawks assistants Quin Snyder and Kenny Atkinson were granted permission to interview for the head coach position with the Sixers. The job was filled by Spurs assistant Brett Brown in August. I'm told that Snyder withdrew his name from consideration. Atkinson did interview for the position before Brown was hired.
Snyder's not well-remembered from the end of his college coaching career at Mizzou, but his understanding of pick-and-roll offense is masterful, and he's one of the most dedicated coaches currently serving as an NBA assistant.