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Article posted: 9/27/2013 5:57 PM

Deng's future uncertain as camp opens

By Mike McGraw

With Luol Deng headed into the final year or his contract, the Bulls could face a difficult decision before February -- whether to trade the two-time all-star or risk losing him for nothing as a free agent.

This is against the rules, but based on talk at Friday's media day, maybe coach Tom Thibodeau would be a good fit to serve as Deng's agent.

"I don't think you can win a championship without a player like Luol," Thibodeau said. "He does so many things for our team that probably goes unrecognized by most. He's a complete player, he does whatever you ask. He's very disciplined. He stays in great shape, prepares himself to guard multiple positions. He'll move without the ball.

"He does a lot of things that make your team better that never appear in a box score. He's a hard guy to measure statistically, even though his statistics are very good. He's invaluable to us."

For his part, Deng chose not to make any direct comment on his contract status.

"I would rather not talk about it," he said. "Everything will take care of itself."

Deng, Noah feeling better:

The Bulls expect to be at full strength when practice begins Saturday at the Berto Center. A couple of glaring problems from the spring seem to be resolved -- Luol Deng's painful reaction to a spinal tap and Joakim Noah's chronic plantar fasciitis.

"At the end of last season, (Noah) found an osteopath and a massage therapist that really helped him," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's in a great place right now. He had a terrific year last year and we're looking for even more."

For Deng, it was mostly a matter of waiting until his body produced more spinal fluid to replace what was lost.

"It took me a little while to be cleared for running and everything," Deng said. "So I just used that time for traveling. Once I came back to Chicago, I saw my doctor and I was doing a lot better. Once I got cleared, I started working out and started getting ready."

Bull horns:

General manager Gar Forman said first-round draft pick Tony Snell added 18 (much-needed) pounds of muscle in the last two months. The Bulls officially added five new players on Friday: ex-Miami center Dexter Pittman; veteran shooting guard Dahntay Jones, a solid defensive player; former Indiana Hoosiers power forward D.J. White; former Michigan State point guard Kalin Lucas; and ex-California shooting guard Patrick Christopher. Most likely, one or two of those guys will finish preseason with a spot on the roster. ... Tickets for 2013-14 home games will go on sale Oct. 4 at noon.

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