Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Welcome to the What's Left? Club.
Luol Deng has clocked a ton of playing time under hard-charging coaches Tom Thibodeau and Scott Skiles with the Chicago Bulls, and he wasn't able to move the needle for the Cleveland Cavaliers after a midseason trade. Teams are expected to be wary of making a big offer to the 29-year-old one-time All-Star.
Still, Deng is an obvious fit for the Houston Rockets—a team in great need of veterans with mental resolve, particularly ones who can shore up perimeter defense as well as Deng historically has. Unless Deng chases the biggest offer he can find, it's likely he'll end up in Houston or with a similar team on the fence on the contention. The Phoenix Suns, a team with cap room, also come to mind.
Pau Gasol, similarly, is seen as having dubious value around the league. One of the most skilled big men of the modern NBA era, the two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers has missed 55 games over the past two seasons. He's also 33 years old.
Deng's old team, the Bulls, has long been linked to Gasol in rumors. The no-nonsense, veteran-laden culture in Chicago would be a great fit for the Spaniard, as would any team looking to compete and score more in the post next year. But the price, for both sides, has to be right.
We'll soon see how much money both of these players are willing to sacrifice in the name of winning the way they're used to.