There's yet another rumor about the Washington Wizards moving the No. 3 pick, and this one is bigger than Ersan Ilyasova. The Wizards have discussed a deal that would send Emeka Okafor and the pick to the Chicago Bulls for two-time All-Star small forward Luol Deng, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
The deal would be contingent on Okafor opting in for the final year of his $14.5 million contract, which he was expected to do anyway. Deng has one year and $14.3 million remaining on his contract. The Cavaliers are among the other teams interested in Deng as well, though likely not for their draft pick, according to Stein.
Well then. That's quite a bombshell. It's also a trade I really dislike.
Deng is certainly a better player than Ersan Ilyasova, another guy that has been rumored to be discussed for the No. 3 pick, but the price is much higher. Not only are the Wizards losing the No. 3 pick, but they're also losing Okafor, an important big man and teammate that has a lot of on-court value. That's simply too much to give up for Deng.
Look, Deng's very good -- right now. He's the kind of two-way player that we hope someone like Otto Porter can become. But he's also played nearly 9,400 minutes (including playoffs) over the past three years and has dealt with nagging injuries in the past. Like Nene, I worry he will break down as he gets older. Deng for No. 3 makes some sense, but Deng for No. 3 and Okafor is too much.
I hope this doesn't end up happening.
UPDATE: Mike Wise suggests the Bulls are just trying to talk up Deng's price.
UPDATE: Another quasi-denial from one Chicago beat reporter:
Can't see Wizards giving up No. 3 and Okafor for Deng, as reported by @ESPNSteinLine, unless Deng says he'll resign. Which I also don't see.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 24, 2013