This 'negotiation' is really starting to get to me. Especially this permeating (if perhaps still a minority) opinion that it's of such paramount importance that the Bulls don't overpay for Deng and Gordon. This is usually accompanied wit the odd tough-guy talk that the Bulls can just let them go as a preferential alternative to overpaying.
The Bulls drafted these players, they own their rights. The CBA is set up so that it's easier for teams to retain their own players at the expense of their ability to get other team's players. That means it's even more important to draft smart, and sign who you drafted.
This isn't the fiscal responsibility league, and what makes me more willing to see the Bulls 'overpay' for Deng and Gordon is that there's isn't some tremendous downside to them not living up to the contracts. The team would be paying for their prime years, and at worst they're still above-average players. Even if it turns out that their best isn't good enough, they won't be untradeable. Heck, Hinrich (supposedly) still has trade value and I don't see Deng or Gordon ever having a season as bad as he just did.
Paxson made great moves in previous sign/trades, but that was because he was in a position to tear down the team, and guys like Crawford and Curry were unwanted (for different reasons). So draft picks and cap flexibility were enough of a haul. And that's mostly what teams get for the signed and traded.
With this team Paxson can't have that happen. I want Derrick Rose passing to legitimate teammates, not future cap space in jerseys. This team may be young but they have an opportunity to be young and successful. Being awful and cheap doesn't make the Bulls a good destination in the present or future.
Either Paxson failed to draft players worthy of big money, or mismanaged the roster to where the team can't correctly reward them. That could include the foresight of cashing in Deng early for Pau Gasol, or not tossing big money to Andres Nocioni.
If Gordon and Deng walk, the team is starting over. And if that's the case, I wouldn't mind having a new GM get a chance to try the rebuilding plan this time around. He can start early on the Tyrus Thomas contract stalemate.