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Report: Heat express ‘significant’ interest in Luol Deng

Jul 1, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT

Luol Deng, LeBron James, Mario Chalmers Luol Deng, LeBron James, Mario Chalmers

The Miami Heat reportedly have a long list of marginal free agent targets, most of whom won’t significantly move the needle. The Heat might not need major upgrades to win a championship next season, but they probably need major upgrades to convince LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to take pay cuts.

If Miami can’t get Kyle Lowry, how about Luol Deng?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ken Berger of CBSSports:

Sam Amick of USA Today:

It seems Deng’s suitors are growing by the minute.

The Heat would be an interesting fit. Deng is good enough that the big three might consider a pay cut. He’s a reliable defender, and his 3-point shooting would help space the floor. With LeBron playing more and more power forward, Deng would be an excellent fit.

The rest of the suitors are the usual suspects also chasing LeBron and/or Carmelo Anthony. I bet a lot of teams view Deng as the consolation prize.

If someone makes an early decision to bow out of the LeBron/Melo sweepstakes early, that team could get the inside track on Deng while everyone else waits out the superstars. In that sense, the Heat have a real advantage, because they can make a play for Deng while remaining in contention for LeBron, because only they can re-sign LeBron.

Beyond Miami, I find the Bulls’ interest particularly intriguing. I wonder how Deng feels about Chicago banishing him to Cleveland for half a season. If he gets over it, that could be a good fit. Deng and the Bulls clicked well for so many years already.

  1. stadix093 - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    If there is one thing the Heat need, its a small forward. Wait…

  2. antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    Deng would be a major addition to Miami. He would basically be Shane Battier and Mike Miller combined, except better than both.

    • mrhonorama - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      He’s not close to the 3-point shooter that Miller was. He’s decent from distance, but not really someone who creates much space. Keeping him out on the perimeter would take away from his ability to finish under the basket and grab some offensive rebounds.

      As a Bulls fan, I thought Deng gave us all he had, but he’s clearly on the downside of his career. He is certainly a player who can help a contender, but in much more limited minutes than he played during his time with Thibs.

      • spursareold - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        Thibs burned him up, just like he’s burning up Rose now.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Of course, I didn’t meant to say he was a Miller-esque 3-point shooter. I meant to say that at this point he’s a better defender than Battier and a better offensive player than Miller. Miller lacked defense, Battier lacked offense. Deng can bring both.

        And he still isn’t as fragile as Miller.

    • miamatt - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:08 AM

      both comments are largely on point. He certainly can’t shoot the 3 like Miller, but Deng can score more reliably than either of the other names @anti mentioned. If you consider how much Shane Battier gave to the Heat, particularly the first two years of his contract, you can imagine what Deng could could do for Miami. Tough and well rounded.

  3. cluelessdufus - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    I’m not sure Deng is ready to take a reserve role. I mean I watched him play (Bulls fan) and even though TT ran him hard and has a injury history, I think he has 2-3 years left before he is ready to come of the bench and play for a great team to get his ring. Although if he is, this is gonna be a huge steal. They can let Lebron sit more or move him down to the #4.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:25 AM

      Who said anything about a reserve role? LeBron and Deng are your two forwards, Bosh at center. Spo would manage his minutes a lot better than Thibs did, though.

      • mazblast - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:13 PM

        I watched the finals, and I didn’t see anyone named Bosh playing center. I saw someone who looked like him hanging out at the 3-point line a lot on offense and playing matador defense on the other end.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:58 AM

      Lebron sit more?

      Dude’s only played over 3,000 min’s once on the past 5 seasons…

      MJ played over 3,000 min’s in 12 of his 13 full seasons, including his last season at 39 yrs old for the Wizards…

      From age 23 to 29 (end of MJ’s 1st threepeat), he played MORE min’s than LBJ played from his age 23 to 29 seasons (this past season) when combing both reg season min’s and playoff min’s.

      And you want LBJ to sit more?

      LBJ should be out there more… can’t make a great play from the bench…

      If he wants to be like Mike, he needs to play MORE…

      • divan22 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:28 AM

        Okay, and does LeBron get to take nearly 2 full seasons off in his prime (like Mike)?

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        Does LeBron get to take nearly 2 full seasons off in his prime like mike?

        Uh, IF he WANTS he can… nothing stopping him.

        oh, ONE other thing divan22

        WHY do you think my comparison was for the years up until MJ stopped?

        This way, I ONLY included min’s BEFORE he took his two year vacation.

        This way, I was able to INCLUDE all four of lebron’s finals, meaning his deep playoff runs for four straight years.

        Even WITH all those post season min’s added to his reg season min’s, MJ played MORE min’s than Lebron did.

        Uh, did I mention this was BEFORE MJ took his time off?

        Could Lebron take two yrs off? yeah, no law against. It’s up to him…

        The GOAT did and well, he’s STILL the GOAT

  4. jacobk621 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    Deng better than Mike Miller shooting 3’s ?? Bwahwahwahwah !!!!

  5. campcouch - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:21 AM

    Deng could’ve increased his value on a struggling Cavs team. He didn’t. All-Star player that should’ve shown some flash on that squad. Now instead of taking the cash the Bulls offered or playing for a payday in Cleveland,he’s going to take a pay cut somewhere and probably come off the bench. That guys agent sucks. Bad advice given and taken.

  6. clevelandrox - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    LOL, chi-town knew what they were doing trading deng, was so pumped to have him on the cavs, it was just one problem…he left his ankles in the windy city, besides he trying to get his last big payday, so good luck with that riles, lol

    • zeedoubleyou - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Riles would be signing your 2nd best guy from last year to be a role player. Good burn!

      • clevelandrox - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        lol, there is greater probability that lebron will come back to c-town than deng going to miami

  7. saint1997 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    I know Atlanta isn’t a popular choice because it isn’t very dramatic, but they have cap room and I’d love to see him at the 3 with Teague, Korver, Millsap and Horford. Thats a top 4 team in the East

    • handsomerob86 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:42 AM

      Good call. If I was Deng that would be a consideration for me too. Atl is always right there, waiting to bust out. They just never have that superstar, but Horford is close enough for me.

  8. cruzan80 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Deng can get way more money & a bigger role on the team from teams like the Mavs, Clippers, Suns & Rockets.

    He’ll be agreeing to far less money than he can get elsewhere to play in a reduced role for a team he reportedly doesn’t even like.

    Personally I think he ends up on one of the Texas teams. Better fit & he’ll get his money.

    • lmoneyfresh - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      That’s what I don’t get. If he turned down $10 mil per from Chicago what makes you think he’s going to take less than that in Miami? A chance to win is one thing but he obviously thinks he’s worth more at this point and this will likely be his last big contract.

      • balsagna - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        It’s the pipe dreams of the media and Heat fans. The media wants Lebron in Miami so bad they aren’t even entertaining the idea that he goes elsewhere. The mystique is gone. The Heat are beatable. I don’t see anyone with barely a drop left in the tank coming to Miami for chump change, and they will still be old and without a bench. If I was Miami or their fans I would be significantly concerned.

  9. haaaaasoooooo - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Deng is such an underrated defender. He was/is the only defender I’ve seen that can check Lebron. His hustle and D would help Miami immensely.

    • spursareold - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:38 AM


    • irvfin3 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Jimmy Butler??

  10. edavidberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    What would be interesting is how much the Heat can afford to offer Deng. I wish more articles would provide the numbers.

    • spursareold - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      They can’t. You’ll see a LOT of names linked to the Heat over the next few weeks that have NO chance of actually signing there.

  11. tampajoey - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    Heat would have to pay Deng with Sunshine because they still won’t have any real money left for him or any other “decent” free agents to make them any better. Not with Lebron getting his Max contract and even with Bosh and Wade taking significant pay cuts. I smell resentment brewing in the future in Miami.

    The Big 3 are now the Big 1 and 2 little burdens.

    • lmoneyfresh - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      If he turned down 3yrs/$30 mil from CHI I don’t see him taking less than half of that to play for the heat. That’s A LOT of money to leave on the table.

      • balsagna - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        He won’t, that’s why this whole situation is ludicrous.

  12. malek773 - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Deng probably ends up in ATL or Dallas. He’s going after a pay day. Neither ATL or Dallas will get a superstar like Melo/Lebron so they can afford to pay Deng the 12-13mil a season he wants. Miami wouldn’t offer him that much. Chicago offered 10M/y and he turned that down. From watching Deng play his entire carred I’d say he’s a very good player. Not a 1 or 2 on a team but a good piece. I wouldn’t pay him 12M-13M a year but someone will.

  13. imakcds - Jul 1, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    LBJ wants a max contract. He’s gonna get it, (Miami will give it, does James want to take it?)
    Why would the other 2 take ANOTHER pay cut?
    and I can’t see anyway to keep all three and attract one of the bigger name free agents available. 2nd tier, former all star on verge of retiring, etc.
    That’s how they set this up in the first place, signing 3 stars, filling the rest of the team with minimum contract role players.

  14. kb2408 - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    They got smoked in five games in the Finals and they “might not need major upgrades to win a championship”?! Lol!!! Is Wade all of a sudden going to grow new legs with brand new knees this offseason? Perhaps Bosh will go from the worlds tallest 2 guard to a legit low post threat?! Maybe Oden will morph back into the Bill Russell clone he was in “high school”?! Or are you counting on them signing Lowry AND Melo?!

    • tampajoey - Jul 1, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      I agree 100%. The ONLY way the Heat get better is to get rid of Wade and pay Bosh what he’s worth (and that’s not even near the $20 million zip code). Then they could afford to bring in some real talent to help Lebron. But they won’t, so they’ll continue to fall short and that’s fine with me as I’m enjoying watching Miami crash and burn. Once Lebron sees the writing on the wall he’ll bail too and off come the wheels on the bandwagon.

  15. deiong - Jul 1, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    sure hope he doesn’t go to the heat, he’s to nice a guy to be in that situation, never sell your soul for a ring. nothings worth that.

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