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Report: Luol Deng will not take pay cut to join Heat

Jul 1, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors Cleveland Cavaliers v Golden State Warriors

The question becomes, “what does Pat Riley have to spend?”

LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade agreed to a framework that gives the Heat president some money to recruit players to join them. PBT heard the Heat were talking $6 million or so when talking to Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (and that may have been less and been the mid-level exception).

That’s not going to be enough to get an All-Star quality player such as Luol Deng, one of the Heat’s top targets but one who isn’t playing at a discount, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.

The same appears true for Kyle Lowry, a Heat target where the bidding starts at four-years, $48 million and goes up from there. Marc Stein of ESPN:

With what they apparently have to spend, who are the Heat apparently looking at? How about guys such as Shawn Marion, Isaiah Thomas (who may be too expensive), Vince Carter, Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza, DeJuan Blair, Spencer Hawes, Channing Frye, and Steve Blake.

Not exactly eye popping names. A couple of them with the current Heat core may very well be good enough to get through the Eastern Conference again. Could that team beat the Spurs? Thunder? Clippers?

There’s this kind of hanging expectation that Pat Riley is going to pull a miracle out of his back pocket, but this remains a business. If the money is close then guys start to look at how good the team is, lifestyle, weather and the rest — but only after we talk money.

And the money the big three left Pat Riley may not leave room for a miracle. Maybe some singles and doubles, but not a home run.

  1. trickybastard - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    I find it absolutely ridiculous that most media outlets report that “Lebron wants max” and simultaneously “Heat going after Deng/Lowry.” They don’t stop to think if it makes sense, they just want to report on Miami to get clicks.

    • therealhtj - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      When things shake out, Deng could be the odd man out. He’s been somewhat injury prone, and clearly isn’t cut out to even be a 3rd option offensively. Plays good D and isn’t a guy you can completely ignore on offense. He made a mistake declining the 3 yr / 30mil extension Chicago reportedly wanted him to sign. Once all is said and done, him taking a MLE type offer isn’t out of the question.

      • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        So the guy who averaged 19 per game two seasons ago can’t be completely ignored on offense… Good to know.

    • badge3832 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      There’s no conflict between “Lebron wants max” and “Heat going after Deng/Lowry”. A team is allowed to go over the cap to resign it’s own free agents. That’s what they’ll do if they can find the right players.

  2. cantonbound13 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Why would he? If Bosh & one leg Wade want $15 million, deng deserves at least $12 million. It’s not like he’s guaranteed a ring in Miami.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      He would be guaranteed a ring in Miami. If he is there for the next 3 seasons he is guaranteed at least one.

      • paleihe - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:46 PM

        So, so wrong.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        Nah. Best player in his prime with prime Bosh, plus Wade and Riley – the Heat have been to 4 straight finals – everyone can see them going to 7 straight considering the state of the conference. No reason they can’t win 1 of the next 3. Hell, they could win all 3. But I can only guarantee 1.

      • azarkhan - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:04 PM

        LOL. How did that “guarantee” work out in 2014?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Did someone guarantee something in 2014?

      • seansull83 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        I remember sweep talk a few weeks back the gentle men’s sweep then… Well you get the point

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        But you don’t seem to remember seeing the word “guarantee” which is the point.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        And, btw, the gentleman’s sweep was about to happen before Pop put the kibosh on it with the Diaw maneuver. It is what it is. But I was right when I said it – Pop felt it too – that’s why he had to do something drastic.

      • watdoiknow - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        Yes.. you don’t remember when they guaranteed a championship for 2014??

        Let me refresh your memory..

        Not one… not two… not three… not four…. not five……

        What?!? Do you think 2014 was the one year they were’t making a guarantee?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        Wait, did LeBron say consecutively? He said five in a row, six in a row? I think you need to go back and read that quote again.

      • seansull83 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:56 PM

        Calling a sweep is a guarantee. Just because you don’t use the word doesn’t mean you didn’t intend it, you are arguing semantics. If I say, Boston in 4, I am confident enough it will happen, regardless of change in roster and guess what if it didn’t happen I would admit I’m wrong.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        Generally, when people guarantee something – especially as it pertains to sports – they will actually use the word “guarantee.” A prediction in the sporting world without the word “guarantee” is never taken as a bona fide guarantee. This is why a reporter will ask a player, “Is that a guarantee?” to which the player will usually back off a little bit.

        So, no…

      • cantonbound13 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:52 PM

        Do you actually think before you write?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:52 PM

        How ironic.

      • Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        Dude. LET. IT. GO. Admitting you’re wrong once in awhile versus continuing to employ these failed mental gymnastics would be a great thing for you at this point.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        I don’t even know what you’re talking about, brother. I can’t see what you’re replying to.

      • kingballer99 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        All he’s probably guaranteed is an Easter conference championship, which is like being the smartest kid in the after school program.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:11 PM

        No, it’s like guaranteeing being one of the only two teams that are 4 wins away from a championship. You can’t really ask for more than a Finals guarantee. Those are rare, but Miami all but has that.

      • seansull83 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:51 PM

        Luckily you aren’t a betting man, you’d actually be held accountable.

      • jamoomba - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        Not if all they get is Deng and a bunch of veterans minimum type players.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:27 PM

        Even if that is all they get.

  3. bucrightoff - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    The only guys who will take paycuts to join Miami are over the hill, desperate ring chasers. Everyone else can earn more, likely much more. So why would they take less? If they wanna chase a ring later when their earning potential is lower makes sense. But guys in their prime or close to it? Not happening.

    • jasper36 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      I guess you know the thoughts of every free agent on the market? PBT should just allow you to report on all of the 2014 free agents then.

      • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Not too hard to read the minds of guys who have only a few contracts to make their lifetime earnings from.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      Nah. If James, Wade and Bosh took less to join Miami, why couldn’t anyone else?

      • smoothaswilkes - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        for one, most players don’t have the off court revenue like those guys. LeBron makes more than twice off the court than what Miami pays him. While not twice as much, it’s still pretty close for Wade and Bosh. I don’t see Deng getting those type of opportunities; hence, why take a pay cut? Same goes for most other players that are still around the prime earning years of their career and who aren’t the big name stars.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Deng could get more off the court revenue if he joined the Heat. But the players want to win a championship. Every year there are only so many teams who will realistically contend and if you’re not on one of them you’re going to be out of luck and end up in a Damian Lillard commercial. But these guys are going to get paid regardless of where they go – it’s a matter of how important the extra luxury is to them.

      • azarkhan - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Yeah smart a@@, “why couldn’t anyone else”, like e.g., Luol Deng?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Yes, like Luol Deng.

      • seansull83 - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Because Deng has zero marketability. Even on the Heat he would attract maybe a used car lot commercial. How much did Birdman, Shane Battier, and the rest of supporting cast make off court. Prolbably nothing compared to James and they also got 2 rings. It’s fools gold to take less, and be promised endorsements. He may suck at filming a commercial and we could end up with another Barkley vs Godzilla Nike commercial. Think about that.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        There is no fool’s gold when you’re talking about 10 million vs 12 million. It’s all gold.

        How much is a ring worth to a player? 5 million? 10 million?

        So you can go to, say, Toronto and make 12 million, or go to Miami and make 10 million plus a ring which will end up feeling like 15 million.

      • seansull83 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Ring shouldn’t be worth any money. If he has to take a cut to get one by playing on a loaded team is it really the same as working on your game, developing a team, and winning. LeBron will never have that satisfaction of coming from the bottom to being a contender because this is his stance, but a winning team or I walk. It works but Deng shouldn’t have to make less to win a ring

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        You’re in a fantasy land. It’s hard to win a ring regardless of what you do. You can join a team with prime Shaq and Kobe and it still wouldn’t be easy.

        Deng can work on his game until the cows come home but unless he ends up on a squad with some greats he’s never going to win anything.

  4. Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    “There’s this kind of hanging expectation that Pat Riley is going to pull a miracle out of his back pocket, but this remains a business.”

    Based on what? I’m so tired of hearing this. With the exception of clearing the space in 2010 to form the Big 3 (and he knew through back channels they were on board with this, you’re a fool if you believe otherwise), he’s simply plugged in veterans in the twilights of their careers to chase a ring who have already made millions throughout their careers. Not once did he pluck some guy out of the 2nd round or D league that made a big impact, or pull off a big trade of note. Must be pretty hard to convince millionaires to live in Miami and chase a ring in the putrid Eastern Conference (insert sarcasm). Yet he’s called a genius. Yes, such a genius he wanted to prove how smart he was by signing Oden and Beasley instead of chasing role players who would actually contribute. So basically he’s just replacing the veteran core from over the years of Battier, Miller, Lewis, Allen, Andersen etc to some combination of Blake, Carter, Marion and so on. Unfortunately Wade’s in rapid decline now, but LBJ still has such a great impact that they’ll threaten to win the East every season. It’ll be interesting to watch it play out.

    • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      Only quibble I’d make is that Beasley actually did contribute in the regular season. Filled the role they wanted and had decent numbers. His lack of time in the playoffs looks to be more a coaching decision than anything he did. I know the story afterwards became he wasn’t prepared but he certainly didn’t look lost in the regular season and even in Game 5 when he finally got in there he was the only guy other than LeBron who could score on the Spurs.

  5. karlton3 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    If Riley really wants to improve the Heat, he’s going to have to spend the money he’s spending on Wade on someone NOT named Wade.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      If he did that he wouldn’t have LeBron, so that wouldn’t improve the Heat. Plus, Wade is a good player – you’re not going to be able to replace him with a shooting guard who is anywhere near as good as he is.

  6. milimpilim - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    4 years @ $48 million for Lowry? Very steep.

    • Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      Not at all. I think Lowry’s one of the most underrated players in the NBA who does so many things that don’t show up on the box score. It was sad the way it ended in Houston and I’m simultaneously wearing my Lowry jersey and crossing my fingers daily, hoping for the slim chance of a reunion.

      • milimpilim - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        For Toronto’s sake, I hope you’re right. I think he’s staying put in Canada.

      • smoothaswilkes - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        as soon as he signs a contract for 12 million of more, he’ll be overrated and a drain on anyone’s cap the last few years of his deal. hopefully, the rockets can reacquire his talents for 14 million per. good luck!

      • jasper36 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        Just like Miami if Houston wants Lowry, they are going to have to open their pocket book and spend some money. Which would ruin their plans of adding Melo or James. A move that would probably;y get them out of the first round into a second round loss.

      • Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        Respectfully disagree. Already paying Lin 15 mil (8 mil cap hit) so the incremental added cost in paying Lowry is totally worth it for what he brings to the table (superb defense, efficient shot selection, high basketball IQ, allows us to move away from Harden bringing up the ball in iso so often). I honestly believe it’s a much better fit chemistry wise than with Melo, but that’s my opinion obviously. Lowry’s unfortunately been in markets that don’t get the same national attention in Houston (at the time pre-Harden) and Toronto, so a lot of what he does has flown under the radar.

    • paleihe - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      48 million for a PG is pointless since they have LeBron at PG dominating the ball. That money would be better spent on a defensive anchor and rebounder.

      All they need for a PG is someone that can consistently make an open 3 and not be putrid on defense (kinda like MJ had, Steve Kerr, BJ Armstrong, John Paxson).

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        LeBron doesn’t dominate the ball at point. He is not in the top 25 in touches per game like Chris Paul, John Wall or Ricky Rubio. He averaged less touches per game than Blake Griffin and Josh McRoberts.

      • paleihe - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        According to, LeBron was in the top 20 at touches per game, ranked #17.

        12 of the players ahead of him were PGs (I’m including Harden since he dominates the ball also).
        Only other non-PG players with more average touches per game (J Noah, McRoberts, Marc Gasol, and Paul Millsap).

        Griffin was ranked #19.

      • alshonsmeathooks - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        so… anti is making stuff up

        what a surprise

    • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      You think so? 12 mil a year? I didn’t think that was steep for him.

      • milimpilim - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a good PG (albeit a little on the inefficient side) but he peaked this year. I don’t see this kind of production being replicated for too long.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        I think he will be close to that for the next 3 seasons. So do a lot of other people, hence the interest.

  7. kingperk123 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Good don’t take no pay cut just so heat can try and compete for a championship make pat spend dat green

  8. chief0727 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Hmmmm…I guess Riley’s big plan to have a big 4 is off to a rough start. ESPN is going to be p*ssed !

    It will be interesting to see if the owner goes “Brooklyn” on them and pays a $100,000,000 + luxury tax, which would let Riley actually get someone decent

    • kinggw - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      OMG he didn’t sign someone in the first 16 hours, l guess that means LeBron is leaving now.

      • Hard On For Harden - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        Yes because that is exactly what he said.

      • chief0727 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:07 PM

        Calm down lil camper! All it means is it’s notgoing to be as easy for Riley to sign useful veterans as you Heat lovers think. Don’t worry, I’m sure Lowery will leave Toronto for $250 a week plus tips to play for the Heat!

  9. rrhoe - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I’ve been getting bashed for suggesting that players won’t take less just to play with LeBron and it’s good to see that’s exactly how it’s playing out. Miami hasn’t drafted anyone of significance since D-Wade and players have a short timeframe to earn as much as they can as most players don’t make alot of money off the court. As a player I am quite sure it’s in the back of their minds that if the Heat are on the phone they are basically not getting market value and if nobody thinks the players don’t talk amongst themselves then you need to wake up(no pun intended).

    • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      Love is blind and such is the life of the rabid fan. Players are all painfully aware of the fact they’ve got two or three contracts in their careers with which to set themselves for life. Taking pay cuts is not part of the equation unless there are huge endorsements waiting to compensate for the loss in salary. But being 4th fiddle on a team doesn’t equate to a lot of endorsement dough.

  10. kb2408 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Wow…I thought dudes would do anything to get a chance to play with LBJ and the Heatles. Evidently that only applies to dudes at the end of their careers or career backups.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      players are beating the down of the Lakers to play with Kobe right now too aren’t they?

      Not even the city of los angeles is enticing…

      scratch that, players WANT to play for the Clippers…

      must be something else going on…

      • kb2408 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Kobe is in the twilight of his career, LBJ is in his prime. Big difference.

  11. jasper36 - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    The thought that the Heat can not upgrade their team as long as they keep their big three is ridiculous. People hate the Heat so much that they rout against them not to get better. While not realizing that half of the stories done on most of the teams, and the 2014 free agents are far fetched. For example the bulls can only sign Melo to a contract worth a max of about 16 million a year if they want to keep their core together. Meaning he also would have to take a significant pay cut to join them. My point being the Heat are not the only team looking to get a star on a discount. The way the salary cap is set up this is what free agency is going to be about. Which team can make their money stretch the longest.

  12. ejphenom - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    The Heat sound real desperate right now. Asking these players to take a paycut so they can be Lebron’s side kick sounds real bogus. The Spurs really knock the sense out those guys. Smh

    • kinggw - Jul 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      Yeah they sound real desperate on the first day of free agency.

  13. wiltchamberlainthethird - Jul 1, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Why are they looking Deng’s way in the 1st place? They got the best SF you could ask for. They don’t need anymore wings or players that need the ball in their hands, they need a BIG. From Joel Anthony to to Greg Oden & the Erick Dampiers in between, Pat Riley still hasn’t gave the Big 3 a body in the middle. The Bosh at the 5 experiment ain’t working anymore…give em a Pau Gasol or Gortat & you’d be set.

  14. sportsfan18 - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    “There’s this kind of hanging expectation that Pat Riley is going to pull a miracle out of his back pocket, but this remains a business. If the money is close then guys start to look at how good the team is, lifestyle, weather and the rest — but only after we talk money.

    And the money the big three left Pat Riley may not leave room for a miracle. Maybe some singles and doubles, but not a home run.”

    spot on…

    applies to the Lakers too… with “all” their cap space…

  15. edavidberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Isaiah Thomas is exactly the kind of player the Heat need, and $6 mill a year is ridiculously cheap. But the Heat already have Napier and Cole at that position. How many point guards do they need?

    • mogogo1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:07 PM

      About three less than you listed. Their offense has never required a traditional point guard. The Spurs exposed the fact that they need to be able to defend other teams point guards, but that’s a separate topic that could be addressed without spending the bucks required to bring in a full-featured PG when they only really need a couple of his skills.

      • edavidberg - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        Thomas is a terrific defender. His quickness on the perimeter is a perfect fit for the Heat. Also, his playmaking would be needed when Lebron gets his rest.

  16. qdog112 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    It’s not shocking that players aren’t clamoring to play for the Heat, especially at a discount. The promised multiple championships guarantee has already been broken and the clock continues to tick, as Wade ages and other players walk.

    Another reason that deters point guards, is that LeBron is the PG and he needs the ball to be effective. Where does that leave a premiere PG on that team? Premier or not, who wants to be the next Mario Chalmers? Who wants to be screamed and become the punching bag for bad play by the Heat?

    The novelty has worn off and players no longer see Miami as a sure bet for winning it all. Players wanna get paid and not risk losing, while being torn apart by the King.

  17. jamoomba - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Obviously Lebron deserves the max but, if these numbers are correct, I don’t see the Heat being able to bring in enough help to make them better than any of the top teams out west. $12mil in cap space is barely going to be enough for either 1 very good free agent (Lowry, Gasol, Stevenson) OR 2 mid-level type players (Ariza, Parsons, Frye); and that isn’t going to be good enough. Now if they added Gasol, to roughly the same Heat team as last year, and IF Wade was healthy then that would be the only likely FA signing that actually makes the Heat better in the playoffs; But they would still depend on Wade to produce and at this point you wouldn’t even want to bet half your dinner on that. The only way the Heat actually get better is to either bring in Carmelo at enough of a discount that they’re able to go get another 2 or 3 guys that want slightly more than the vets minimum OR convince some combination of Gasol/Lowry/Ariza/Deng/Parsons/Frye/ETC to come in at severely reduced salaries. I don’t care how good Riles is at what he does, unless he’s threatening to break legs and go after families, there’s no amount of cache or charm to get this done. The Heat can’t solve their most pressing issues through free agency; Wade and Bosh aren’t producing at the level they were expected to and there’s no reason to think that either of them will going forward. So Wade and Bosh take unprecedented pay cuts to help Lebron, great! Problem is that they’re still going to get paid a combined $23-$25mil to ride Lebron as far as he’s able to carry them, and not even a max salary deal is going to make that weight any easier for Lebron to carry.

  18. nsideindy - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    I guess I can see where the Heat feel obligated to pay DWade (although I wouldn’t feel that way)…but why are they re-signing Bosh anyway? Take that money (or that money and Wade’s money) and go get players that can help.

  19. enigma2742 - Jul 1, 2014 at 11:34 PM


  20. sawick48 - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    Seriously why all the thought that any player will take less just to be with LeBron. Everyone in the end be a has been pampered and yesd to death their entire lives they are (with a few exceptions) ego maniacs, with their own families to provide for

    I would be shocked, SHOCKED, if the heat get anyone 32 years old or younger to sign for a significant pay cut

  21. thethrill1111 - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:59 AM

    The Bulls offered Deng a 3 year/$30 million extension before the trade deadline and Deng declined to take the paycut. If he wouldn’t take $10 million with Chicago, then why on Earth would the Heat even bother forcing him to take a paycut to join them? Besides, joining Miami doesn’t mean you will win a ring (ask Greg Oden or Michael Beasley).

    Also, Deng should be signing somewhere that has an opening at the starting SF position (Dallas, Charlotte, etc.).

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