Updates from Sunday, July 13
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports Luol Deng has agreed to terms with the Heat:
Free agent forward Luol Deng has agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Miami Heat, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 13, 2014
David Aldridge of NBA.com previously updated the landscape of negotiations surrounding Deng:
Luol Deng still deciding, per source, which almost always means "high bid wins." MIA still ahead. Mavs in it (cont) http://t.co/FHPUTH486g— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 13, 2014
Earlier in the day, Brian Windhorst of ESPN provided an update on Deng's negotiations:
As of last night, Heat & Luol Deng still significantly apart on salary, sources say. Deng's been turning down $10M/year offers for months— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 13, 2014
ESPN.com's Marc Stein previously reported the Heat were in the best position to land Deng:
Sources told ESPN.com that Miami is the closest thing to a front-runner in the chase for Deng in the wake of LeBron James' blockbuster announcement that he's returning to his home-state Cleveland Cavaliers.
Updates from Saturday, July 12
USA Today's Sam Amick provides another update on Deng's status:
Final Luol Deng update for tonight: Atlanta talks revived & quickly died down, & Dallas has L. Stephenson over Deng on priority list, so..— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 13, 2014
ESPN's Marc Stein has more on interest in Deng:
ESPN sources say Phoenix has tried to force its way into the Luol Deng bidding tonight. Miami has been pressing all day for deal with Deng— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 13, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest on Deng:
Atlanta is re-engaged on Luol Deng, who has continued deal talks with Miami today, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 13, 2014
Miami's pursuing free agent Luol Deng with an offer near $10 million per season, on a short deal, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 13, 2014
Stein has the latest on Deng:
ESPN sources say Rockets appear to be out in pursuit of Luol Deng but remain in the hunt to try to sign Trevor Ariza away from Wizards— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 12, 2014
ESPN sources also say that Miami is making progress in its pursuit of Luol Deng to team him with Chris Bosh and soon-to-reupped Dwyane Wade— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 12, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 11
Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick has the latest on Deng and the Heat:
The Miami Heat have had talks with Luol Deng's representatives after LeBron James' decision, I'm told. Story TK.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 11, 2014
Others have reported, can confirm: Heat in hot pursuit of Luol Deng.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) July 11, 2014
CBS Sports' Ken Berger has the latest on Luol Deng's potential destination:
League sources also say stars now align in post-decision world for Luol Deng to land in Phoenix. Several teams still in mix.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2014
Fully expecting Houston to match on Chandler Parsons, Dallas moving ahead with plan B: Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza, league sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 9
Sam Amick of USA Today reported on Houston's interest in Luol Deng:
While Houston Rockets wait for a decision from Chris Bosh on max offer, I'm told they reached out to Luol Deng's camp again today.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 9, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on another team that is interested in Deng:
Washington Wizards have talked to free agent Luol Deng, but still determined to re-sign Trevor Ariza, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 7
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported on Dallas' interest in Luol Deng:
Dallas, believing it likely will lose out on both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, will attempt to sign Chandler Parsons away from the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks also have Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza in their sights, sources said.
Updates from Saturday, July 5
TNT's David Aldridge and Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provide details from Luol Deng's meeting with the Miami Heat:
Pat Riley pitched today how Miami was a good fit for Luol Deng. But Deng can't commit unless/until he knows how much money Wade/Bosh will take. Sides will talk again next week.
Riley was "very charming," per source, and visit had the feel of a college recruiting trip. But it's all about the dollars at this point.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 5, 2014
Erik Spoelstra joined Pat Riley in his meeting with free agent Luol Deng in Chicago today, source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2014
Sam Amick of USA Today highlights Deng's financial desires for the deal:
Here's tricky part about Deng-to-Miami: unless his stance changes, he has indicated he wants no less than $10 mil/year, more like $12 mil— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 5, 2014
ESPN's Josina Anderson initially reported the meeting was taking place:
Source: Luol Deng's reps are "meeting with Pat Riley and Miami today in Chicago." #Heat— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) July 5, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 4
USA Today's Sam Amick has an update on the Hawks' interest:
While free agent small forward Luol Deng isn't expected to visit with interested teams until next week, the Atlanta Hawks appear to be making an early pitch.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Deng was expected to speak with Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer about the possible partnership on Thursday night. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks.
Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico has more on Atlanta's interest in Deng:
Told talks advancing between free-agent F Luol Deng (Cavs) and Hawks, though nothing final.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 5, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 3
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on the Clippers' interest in Luol Deng:
Free agent Luol Deng intrigued with Clippers sign-and-trade possibilities, sources tell Yahoo. He's expected to speak with Doc Rivers today.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 1
As soon as the clock struck midnight and free agency began, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on the first team to contact Luol Deng:
First call to free agent forward Luol Deng's reps tonight: Dallas Mavericks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
Two more teams contacted the free agent after the Mavericks according to Wojnarowski:
Clippers have called on Luol Deng tonight, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
Miami's Pat Riley has called Luol Deng's reps and registered his significant interest, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2014
Updates from Sunday, June 29
On Sunday the Atlanta Hawks traded away Lou Williams and Bebe Nugiera to the Raptors in exchange for John Salmons according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Wojnarowski later reported that the cap-clearing move set them up to make a run at free agent Luol Deng:
One strong candidate for that $15M-plus of fresh salary cap space in Atlanta, league sources tell Yahoo: Free agent forward Luol Deng.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
To be clearer on the Hawks cap space, Deng could be a part of it -- by no means all of it. Market for him in $10-$12m annual range.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 30, 2014
Most of the attention early in the NBA offseason has been directed toward the impending decisions from superstars like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, but one of the few players in the league who can actually stop those guys on the defensive side is also available.
Luol Deng spent his 2013-14 season with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, but there are some rumors circulating about where he could end up.
Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPNDallas.com provided the latest:
Sources say the Mavs also have interest in free-agent small forward Luol Deng, although there are concerns about his durability after the two-time All-Star missed 75 games over the previous four seasons and led the league in minutes per game twice in the last four seasons.
Ironically, that tidbit comes from an article that primarily discussed Dallas’ interest in Pau Gasol, which is fitting because Deng has seemingly never gotten the respect that other All-Stars in the league do.
Dallas struck out on marquee names like Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in the recent past, so landing someone like Deng could help the only team that seriously challenged the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 playoffs advance deeper than the first round.
MacMahon painted an enticing picture for Dallas fans going forward:
My educated guess at the Mavs' starting lineup next season: Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Luol Deng, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 21, 2014
It almost seems like a pipedream, but a lineup like that is very possible. The Mavs would almost certainly finish better than the No. 8 seed with that starting five, even in the loaded Western Conference.
Dallas isn't the only team that could pursue Deng. Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders hinted that he would be a good fit for the Miami Heat:
So, perhaps going for Carmelo isn’t their best plan. They instead will need to try to get another big man who can defend the rim, and someone to play a Battier type role as a hybrid on the wing who can shoot 3s, plus either re-sign Chalmers or get another point guard…Luol Deng actually could be a decent fit in Miami if he were willing to sign for a relative discount.
Landing someone of Deng’s caliber on the defensive side would be a monumental boost for James. LeBron not only carries Miami’s offense, he guards the opponent’s best small forward or shooting guard almost every night, especially down the stretch. It is taxing to do that over the course of an entire season, especially with Dwyane Wade playing an abbreviated schedule because of his knees.
Elsewhere in Florida, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel discussed the possibility of the Orlando Magic grabbing Deng:
The Orlando Magic could have as much as $22.7 million in available salary cap space to use this summer in free agency.
Luol Deng, a small forward who turned 29 last month, could entice the Magic. He’s a defensive powerhouse and would set a great example for the Magic’s younger players. There’s a snag, though: Why would Deng want to join a rebuilding team at this stage of his career if he can earn comparable money from a contender?
Honestly, it’s hard to argue with Robbins’ logic in that regard, so it is difficult to see Deng in Magic blue next season.
Wherever he ends up, Deng’s attitude after he was traded from Chicago, where he spent 10 very productive seasons, should pay dividends as he enters free agency, via Katie O’Brien of WBEZ.org: “Through my whole life, nothing has ever come easy. I’ve always had a hard road before I do something great, and I’m thankful for it.”
Which team would Deng be better off joining?
In his career, Deng has posted nightly averages of 16.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.0 steal while shooting 33 percent from behind the three-point line. He is a two-time All-Star who was part of a Bulls team that constantly gave the best squads in the league fits with their defensive intensity and physicality (the battles with Miami immediately come to mind).
Deng provides shutdown defense thanks to his length, athleticism and physicality, and it’s not hard to see why he would be such an attractive option for a number of teams. He proved during his stint in Chicago that there are only a few players in the league who are better at defending superstar small forwards like James and Anthony than Deng.
The fact that he can hit the three and stretch the defense while contributing on the boards is just a bonus.
At this point in his career, Deng may look for his best chance at a ring. Miami and even Dallas (with Gasol) would certainly fit that bill.
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