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Achilles injury may have influenced teams against trading for Luol Deng

Feb 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng AP

It became clear shortly after Luol Deng arrived in Cleveland that his stay with the team wouldn’t extend beyond this season.

Deng was reportedly shocked by the internal chaos going on with the Cavaliers, so much so that any chance of him re-signing there as an unrestricted free agent this summer completely disappeared once he saw the inner workings of the franchise.

Cleveland realized this, and worked furiously to try to get something in return for Deng in trade before the deadline passed. But Deng’s reluctance to agree to an extension with a new team, along with a lingering Achilles injury left the Cavaliers without any takers.

From Bob Finnan of the News-Herald (via HoopsHype):

Deng has rebuffed all talk about an extension with the Cavs, and might want to sign with a contending team in free agency. Since coming to the Cavs, he looks like he’s either lost much of his explosion and athleticism he once had or his Achilles is worse than he is letting on.

And from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

We’re surprised the Cavs did not move Luol Deng. He’ll be gone on July 1, no later than a minute past midnight, and despite an Achilles injury that prevents him from practicing on most days, he’ll be high on everyone’s free-agent list. The Mavs, Lakers, Celtics, Magic and Charlotte are all interested. Why not stay in Cleveland? Kyrie Irving doesn’t make players around him better and Dion Waiters is a me-first player.

That’s two independent sources that mention Deng’s Achilles, and it isn’t a coincidence. The fact that he isn’t practicing and that his game has suffered recently can’t be discounted, because there are plenty of teams that could have benefited from the addition of Deng for the remainder of the season in exchange for a draft pick in the future.

But that’s Deng at 100 percent, not the current version that’s been wildly up and down in recent weeks. And with draft picks at an all-time high, no one was willing to part with one for nothing more than a half-season rental of Deng’s inconsistent services.

  1. campcouch - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    There’s something more going on with Deng than the Bulls,Cavs or Deng let on. He didn’t take the deal in Chicago,he could’ve put off negotiations until after the season,the Bulls definitely could have gotten a better deal for him,instead of Bynum,cap room and a protected pick.Some team will pay him max even though he’s not worth it.Is he still mad about how the Bulls treated him after his spinal tap last year and is he just going through the motions now? He’s a good player,good defender and will give you some decent numbers offensively and on the boards,but he is not an elite player.

    • therealhtj - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      No way anyone gives him max. He should’ve take the 3/30 the Bulls were offering.

      • doubledown44 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        I will admit to being really excited about Deng when the Cavs traded for him, but he has looked like an average player since he joined the team. I think people have touched on various reasons for that in the article and in the comments, but the other factor is that when he got to Cleveland, many had noted that the constant wear and tear of playing so many hard minutes for Tom Thibodeau had worn him down. I definitely see that.

        Any team that signs him to a longer type deal could be looking at a Gerald Wallace situation sooner than later. There is just no way he will be able to justify a four-year deal (especially at the back end) at $12 million to $14 million per year.

  2. beach305 - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I’m still trying to figure out why the Cleveland media keeps writing articles about Lebron, coming back to the cavs.

  3. ljl2 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Beach305- don’t single out Cleveland media. Almost every national article that talks about cavs also mentions LeBron. The bloggers that cover the team rarely mention him unless it is revisiting some previous team or stat. Print and radio media here is awful about it. But let’s not act like every story about the cavs from outside Cleveland media doesn’t find a way to mention him. Most fans have moved on and are sick of constantly trying to read without having some narrative pushed down our throats.

  4. Dan Gershenson - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    He’s a #3 option. Some idiot will pay him like he’s a #1. The Bulls offer was fair and glad we got what we did for him vs. overpaying.

  5. miamboy - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    after LeBron james watches the heat go 2-0 without him…I think he’s going to stay in Miami!why in the world would he go back to a team that was in a mess when he left?and not stay where he has a chance to win more rings?lie’s don’t figure…and figures don’t lie.

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