Out of context photo added for dramatic effect (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Where there's smoke, there's...more smoke? Technically this is a step up in the rumor-sphere: the Bulls have been linked to lottery-bound prospects, the idea of trading Luol Deng to do so had been speculated. But Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald is the first it together, with sources to boot:
[trading Deng for a high draft pick] does appear to be one of the strategies under consideration right now, league sources confirmed. A draft camp meeting with North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes was mentioned on the team's website, but there's probably no single target.
...The Bulls have plenty of love for Deng. The issue here is being backed up against the luxury tax and trying to create flexibility for the future.
Included that last bit for the real stomach-punch.
The rest at the link is just trying to make sense of it all. Deng is the most likely to go compared to the other starters (they could amnesty Boozer, of course, but it would gain flexibility yet cost cash). A team with a lottery pick and cap room (i.e., able to 'absorb' Deng's deal without sending salary back) like the Kings or Raptors would make sense. No further specifications of the rumor, but that the Bulls are officially 'reported' to be looking to move one of their core to dodge the tax is a new development.