Even though it has been less than two months since they acquired him in a trade from the Chicago Bulls, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly looking to trade Luol Deng before Thursday’s trade deadline. Deng becomes a free agent this offseason, and with the Cleveland organization being completely in disarray, it is unlikely that Deng returns next year. At 20-33, the Cavaliers are far from contenders in the Eastern Conference and moving Deng seems to be the smart move.
While many teams are certainly interested in the two-time NBA All-Star, the team that makes the most sense in a trade for Deng are the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are one of the most surprising teams in the league, currently sitting at 30-21 in the incredibly tough Western Conference. Led by their impressive young backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, the Suns have seemingly come out of nowhere to become a legitimate contender in the West. Phoenix is reportedly looking to add a veteran player to their team before the deadline, with Deng being at the top of their wish list.
The Suns are getting production from all areas of the roster, but there is no doubt that they lack a legitimate player at the small forward position. Deng would help this team tremendously. Not only is the position an obvious need, the Suns leave plenty to be desired on the defensive side of the court. Deng is a premier perimeter defender, who has had success against players of the caliber of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. He is the perfect kind of defender for the Suns if they were to run into Kevin Durant in the playoffs. Deng is also known as a great vocal leader with tons of experience. That would certainly help this team full of young and inexperienced players.
With the trade deadline looking to be fairly quiet, it seems likely that Deng will be the best player moved, and the Suns are far from the only team interested. The Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats have also reportedly contacted the Cavaliers about a trade, and each would make plenty of sense for Deng. That being said, armed with four 2014 first-round picks and the expiring contract of Emeka Okafor, the Suns have the most assets that would interest Cleveland.
This trade makes a ton of sense for both sides, but sometimes these things just do not work out. We will have to wait and see what happens in this case, but one thing is for sure, if the Suns land Deng, they instantly become a very scary team in the Western Conference.