Updates from Sunday, July 13
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports Luol Deng has agreed to terms with the Heat:
David Aldridge of NBA.com previously updated the landscape of negotiations surrounding Deng:
Earlier in the day, Brian Windhorst of ESPN provided an update on Deng's negotiations:
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:
ESPN's Marc Stein has more on interest in Deng:
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest on Deng:
Stein has the latest on Deng:
Updates from Friday, July 11
Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick has the latest on Deng and the Heat:
CBS Sports' Ken Berger has the latest on Luol Deng's potential destination:
Updates from Wednesday, July 9
Sam Amick of USA Today reported on Houston's interest in Luol Deng:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on another team that is interested in Deng:
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.
Sam Amick of USA Today highlights Deng's financial desires for the deal:
ESPN's Josina Anderson initially reported the meeting was taking place:
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:
Updates from Thursday, July 3
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported on the Clippers' interest in Luol Deng:
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:
Two more teams contacted the free agent after the Mavericks according to Wojnarowski:
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:
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:
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.”
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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