Luol Deng retires as a member of the Bulls

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 5: Luol Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against the Miami Heat on December 5, 2013 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – The best days of his 15-year NBA career were spent in the Windy City, and Luol Deng wanted to make sure that it ended where it began.

On Thursday, the forward officially retired from the league, doing so by signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the team at the Advocate Center.

The Bulls posted a picture of Deng signing the contract in their announcement of his retirement.

“From the moment we made Luol Deng the seventh overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls became a better team,” said Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson of Deng in a statement released by the team. “Luol carried himself with first-class professionalism and leadership, helping lead his Bulls team to eight playoff appearances during his time in Chicago.

“We’ll always remember his All-Star career and the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night.”

Drafted by the Suns with the 7th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and then immediately traded to Chicago, Deng played nine-and-a-half seasons for the Bulls. He made a significant contribution to the team’s return to the playoffs and the top of the Eastern Conference after years of struggle following the break-up of the Bulls’ Dynasty in the late 1990s.

He was twice named an All-Star in 2012 and 2013, averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 637 career games with the franchise. Deng aided eight Bulls’ runs to the playoffs, including two where they were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. The team reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 13 years in 2011, falling to the Miami Heat in five games.

After being traded to the Cavaliers in January of 2014, Deng would play for that team along with the Heat, Lakers, and the Timberwolves. In what would be his final season in 2018-2019, Deng played in 22 games in Minnesota, averaging 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

In their news release, the Bulls said that Deng will be honored at a game later in the 2019-2020 season.

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