With 2014 NBA Free Agency now under way, Luol Deng appears to be one of the Miami Heat‘s top targets. However, signing the veteran small forward might not be as easy as Pat Riley and Co. might have hoped.
Apparently, Deng is not willing to take a significant pay cut to sign with the Heat.
Hearing that Luol Deng will not take significantly less than his market value to join Heat
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 1, 2014
While it might seem logical for an aging player like Deng to take a risk in order to sign with an annual contender, the fact remains that he’ll easily command a huge contract from a number of other interested NBA teams. He’s considered one of the top veteran talents on the open market this year, and should have no problem landing a deal paying upwards of $10 million per year.
The two factors playing against Deng are his durability issues and average showing last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. During his short stint in Ohio, he played worse than any of his nine and a half years with the Chicago Bulls. Still, by what we’ve seen in the past, there’s no reason to believe he can’t return to his old self with a solid supporting cast.
The Heat have already spent big money since free agency began, reportedly agreeing to terms with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on new deals that will pay them $11 million and $12 million, respectively, in 2014-15. Those deals will likely pave way for LeBron James to get the max contract he’s looking for, which will leave Miami will little breathing room under the salary cap.
Hence, the Heat are hoping Deng will take a pay cut, but it’s not going to happen.
Once other teams start tabling significantly-higher contract offers, Deng will have no choice but to take Miami out of the running. It might not be the best move for his NBA Title prospects, but it makes too much sense financially.