Negotiations between the Bulls and Luol Deng’s camp surrounding a long-term contract extension have stalled has learned.

Yahoo! Sports reported that initial discussions had been taken place between the two parties in separate late-June and early-July meetings regarding keeping the All-Star small forward in Chicago beyond this season the final year of his current deal. But when the talks were revisited the Bulls opted to put those plans on hold for the time being and risk the team’s longest-tenured player becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

“We were optimistic” the source said of the mentality Deng’s camp had heading into the late August meeting approximately two weeks ago. “Our goal was to get an extension done this summer. If that’s not what they want to do so be it.

“We’re not upset Luol isn’t upset. We’re just looking forward to this season and next summer” continued the individual who acknowledged that Bulls management expressed how much they value the two-time All-Star even stating their desire to see him retire in a Bulls uniform. “They were willing to wait and risk losing him next summer as an unrestricted free agent.”

While the likes of Miami’s LeBron James and New York’s Carmelo Anthony other top players at his position could opt out of the final years of their contracts and join Deng on the open market he could still command significant attention as a free agent. A rival executive speaking on the condition of anonymity previously told CSNChicago earlier this offseason that he could envision Deng being offered a multi-year contract extension in the range of a $12-million annual salary if he indeed became an unrestricted free agent next summer.