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Report: Heat president Pat Riley to meet with Luol Deng in Chicago

Jul 5, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

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The Miami Heat may be starting to sweat just a little bit now that we’re five days into free agency, with LeBron James having long since opted out of the final two years of his deal, and it appearing more and more likely that he’s seriously considering other options.

The pressure is increasing by the moment for the Heat to come up with a plan to upgrade the roster by adding some free agent talent, and the early contracts that have been given out to guys like Kyle Lowry and Avery Bradley might mean that the market will be more expensive than anticipated originally.

But Heat president Pat Riley is pressing on, and has plans to meet with at least one high profile free agent on Saturday.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Miami president Pat Riley plans to meet with free agent Luol Deng in Chicago today, league source tells Yahoo.

Deng is a two-time All-Star and an unrestricted free agent who played nine full seasons with the Bulls, before being traded to the Cavaliers midway through his 10th in a move made strictly to dump salary. He’s a capable two-way player who would provide much-needed depth and production on the wing, especially in light of Dwyane Wade‘s durability questions over the long grind of the regular season.

The problem for Miami is that Deng isn’t believed to be willing to take a significant pay cut just to play alongside James, Wade and Chris Bosh, and while it’s unclear just how much cap space the Heat will have to spend once those three restructure the finances of their next deals, Deng would appear to be out of the team’s price range.

But Riley has always been known as a master motivator, and as the team gets more desperate to improve, he may be able to come up with the right combination of dollars and sense to convince Deng that signing with the Heat, even for less than market value, is ultimately what’s best.

  1. cantonbound13 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Give it up Pat, nobody cares to take less to join a team that will lose in the Finals. Stick to the free agents that are past their prime, like Marion & Vince Carter. Maybe you can take lessons from Pop on drafting talent.

    • chiadam - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      You clearly didn’t see Shabazz Napier go 3-for-15, turn the ball over 8 times, and get his ankles busted today.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        thanks for the info chiadam, no I didn’t see that…

        but, I was the guy going back and forth with Anti and others on draft night saying Shabazz was no good, they’d be sorry…

        then I said the Heat still don’t have a point guard on their team many times over the past week or so…

        and this was against other lower players trying to make teams and rooks who take a while to adjust in the league…

        in other words, Shabazz wasn’t going up against the Chris Paul’s, Russell Westrbook’s etc…

        sorry I missed his “performance” but it was exactly what I expected…

      • kb2408 - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        So, what you’re saying is LeBron would probably not be a very good GM, since Shabazz was his first unofficial draft pick….

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:01 PM


        correct… not right now…

        these players go on friendships too much…

        a team needs to be CONSTRUCTED

        a big, a backup big, real pg, shooting guard, real backup pg, athletic wings, good outside shooting…

        real bench players… a dash of veterans, even a player or two in like their 14th or 15th yr can be good if a team has 5 or 6 really young guys.

        not friends, not emotional ties…

        it’s a BUSINESS

      • kinggw - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Smart people write off players after one bad summer league game.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM



        it was after FOUR college seasons…

        he did not do well against college kids, against guys who will NOT play in the NBA…

        that freshman tyler ennis (who shouldn’t have come out yet) had fewer turnovers per 40 min’s than the SEASONED FOUR year “star” did…

        that freshman tyler shot the same from the field that Shabazz did for his 4 yr career.

        my point? tyler shot .411% his first season and only season. had he played the next 3 yrs, it would have gone up.

        Shabazz could only get to .411% after 4 yrs. Shabazz shot .370% his first season compared to tyler’s .411%

        tyler’s win shares per 40 min’s was higher than Shabazz’s for his 4 yr career and much higher than Shabazz’s freshman season.

        I didn’t need to see even one summer league game. Shabazz is NOT an NBA player…

      • antistratfordian - Jul 6, 2014 at 2:06 AM

        @sportsfan18 – Now now. I’m not going to let you get away with this. How can you criticize Napier’s FG% when you were just running off at the mouth yesterday talking about TS% and eFG% and the value of threes vs twos…??? Remember our conversation about Dirk and his threes?

        Well, Napier took 215 threes and made them at .405 percent. Compare that to Ennis who only took 85 threes and made them at .353 percent. Napier was just about as accurate from deep as Ennis was from the entire field!

        Napier is also a superior free throw shooter – 87% vs 76%.

        That’s why Napier’s TS% was .591 compared to Ennis at .511. That’s why Napier’s eFG% was .517 compared to Ennis at .453. Those are not small differences.

        So you can drop the bologna about Napier’s FG%. You know as well as anyone that it’s not representative of his TRUE shooting percentage where Napier blows Ennis out of the water.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM


        i didn’t others would care to dig into the stats…

        if I’d have known it was you I was going up against, I would have used different stats…

        such as tyler’s HIGHER PER in his freshman season than Napier.

        tyler’s freshman PER was higher than Naiper’s soph season PER too…

        point is that while Napier is good, he didn’t tear it up against college kids, the overwhelming majority of whom will not play in the NBA. he’ll face a lot tougher competition in the league than he did in college.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 5, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      I’m not seeing how you get much more out of a guy like Deng than they did out of guys like Beasley this year, who had a higher PER. Maybe he has some kind of resurgence playing alongside James, I dunno. Deng was 16th best PER at his position last year, 22nd the year before, 25th the year before that. His ranking in the league is uptrending for 3 years, but his PER of 14-15 hasn’t changed, and is quite a ways behind the league leaders at his position. Also, I don’t understand how he’s supposed to back up Wade effectively, when he plays LeBron and Beasley’s position on the court.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 5, 2014 at 2:39 PM

        If Pat really wanted a productive guy to plug in, he’d be wheeling and dealing for Paul Pierce – but I’m sure Pat has burned way too many bridges for that to ever happen.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Paul and Ray Allen would have to throw down…

        If Paul didn’t… KG would NEVER talk to Paul again…

      • antistratfordian - Jul 6, 2014 at 2:10 AM

        Defense. PER doesn’t reflect defensive impact well. Deng is a good defender. Beasley, not so much. Instant upgrade on that side of the ball.

    • scorp16 - Jul 5, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      You mean the same Pat Riley whose team has been to Finals 5 out of the past 9 years? Or the Pat Riley whose team has won the NBA Championship 3 out of 5 times they’ve been there over the past nine years? Yeah don’t listen to him…..

      • cantonbound13 - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        I mean the Pat Riley that patented the term 3 peat , yet has never accomplished that at any point of his career. He same Pat Riley that is telling LeBron not to leave when he cowardly left NY via a fax. The same Pat Riley that arranged a pep rally & stood by the not 3, not 4, not 5… idiotic comment. Your Pat Riley is all talk.

      • scorp16 - Jul 6, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        So let’s see. Pat Riley in 33 years since he began coaching and later became an executive has had his team in the NBA finals 13 times of which he has won the championship 7 times. So on average his teams are in the finals once every three years and win once every 5.

        The Knicks on the other hand have made it to the finals 2 times in the last 33 years. Lost both times. They did have one good shot though. They lost 4-3 in game 7 to The Rockets. The coach was ….Pat Riley.

        The Knicks are a disaster. They have been for quite a while. They can’t keep a good coach (see J Van Gundy) because their front office is incapable. You can’t fault Riley for that. It’s just a matter of time before Jackson is gone as well.

        Yeah Riley is all talk.

      • cantonbound13 - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:43 PM

        Let’s see. Phil Jackson in 20 years of coaching went to the Finals 12 times! 60% of the time! He won 11 championships! 3 peated 3 times! Yet he doesn’t talk as much as Riley, he’s all about results!

      • scorp16 - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:09 PM

        Where in this story or in the posts did we ever get into a Phil vs Pat discussion? You made a baseless comment that Riley was all talk. When presented with concrete evidence to counter your position you retreat into “Oh yeah well Phil Jackson is better than Riley”. Not once in your rambling incoherent rambling did you even come close to a rational thought….But hey thanks for trying.

    • Maurice Barksdale - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Micky Arison is a multi-billionaire. Why are he and Pat Riley asking these players to take pay cuts? Surely with all his billions Arison could afford to pay the luxury tax even as steep as it would be. Otherwise, they may as well just thank the Big 3 for bringing them 2 championships, let LeBron and Bosh go, and then start to rebuild from scratch.

  2. ljl2 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I got downvoted when I suggested Blatt to Cavs a week before he was linked, let’s see how this goes…

    If LeBron decides he wants to go to Cleveland, Cavs and Heat can sign & trade Deng for LeBron. I’m sure Cavs would be willing to give the Heat their #1 back for next year.

    • chief0727 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      No way that happens. The salaries would need to be close for a trade—Deng is no where near worth max money

      • ljl2 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Is he worth it? I don’t think so… But he’s gonna get close to it! Everyone thought so before he was traded to Cavs

      • erking1991 - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        No they wouldn’t Cavs have the cap space to take on a bigger contract.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Deng wanted $12 million per year, which is why he rejected the Chicago Bulls’ offer of $10 million per year before he was traded.

      That’s not max money for a veteran player like himself. A max contract for a guy like him is closer to $20 million per year than $10 million.

      Also, Cleveland is pretty close to having enough cap room to sign LeBron James as an unrestricted free agent outright without a sign and trade. They just have to dump Jarrett Jack.

  3. nflcrimerankingscom - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Bad Knees Wade + Bad Back Deng + Broken Ankles Napier + Bad Blunt Beasley = 2015 Lottery Pick to Cleveland.

    • ljl2 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      pick is top-10 protected. We wouldn’t get it.

  4. yesser12 - Jul 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Deng probably won’t go to Miami. He would have to take a huge pay cut and he does have other teams looking at him. Pay cut and likely coming off the bench is a lot to sacrifice. Not like he is a older guy(Ray Allen) or dropped off the face of the Earth(Rashard Lewis).

  5. lakerade - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    Either a lot of players are about to take a lot less money or the Heat are done. You’d think a power-play by the players that pissed off the owners to such an extent a lockout happened would’ve produced more than only two championships.

    • turnmymicup - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      I love how you say “only two championships” like its as easy as flipping coins. Doesn’t matter who you have on a team. Winning 2 championships is quite an accomplishment. Some teams have never won a ring. Some haven’t been back to the finals in decades. Yet somehow you find a way to downplay the significance of winning it all. If they didn’t win ANY rings at all thats another discussion. Holding up 2 out of the last 4 trophies is something the players can be proud of.

      • kb2408 - Jul 5, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        Yes, winning TWO rings is an awesome accomplishment. I think we minimize what Miami did because of all the hoopla and hyperbole that they created by joining together. We were led to believe that they would become the greatest team EVER. Better than the MJ Bulls, the Showtime LAKERS, Birds Celtics, the Bad Boy Pistons and the Kobe/Shaq LAKERS. When you predict multiple titles and then fall far short, you have to expect some criticism.

  6. pooskay - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Why would Deng take a pay-cut to play in MIA when he wasn’t willing to do that in CHI?

    He’d be a sell-out if he signed with MIA.

  7. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    This is the winning move for Miami. Don’t know what they can afford to pay a free agent but they lost the Finals because of defense and Deng is a great defender.

    • kb2408 - Jul 5, 2014 at 6:56 PM

      They lost for far more than defense.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      Correct. The Heat last year were an elite offense, and they were able to put up good point totals against good defenses like the Pacers, Bobcats, and even the Spurs.

      Their issue was defense. They were ranked outside of the top-10 on defense for the first time in the Big 3 era. That didn’t hurt them early in the playoffs because most Eastern Conference playoff teams had bad offenses. Against the Spurs offense, the Heat ended up allowing over 104 points in 4 out of 5 games. The only game they won, they STILL allowed 96 points, so they didn’t have a single good defensive performance. Meanwhile, they scored around 92 points per game despite Wade and Bosh being frequent no shows on offense, which is solid.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 6, 2014 at 2:22 AM

        Very good. Though in game 2 they really only allowed 93 points – Ginobili hit a garbage three at the buzzer. And the Spurs only shot about 43%. Easily their lowest of the series. In most games they seemed to be shooting around 57%. So game 2 wasn’t a bad defensive performance at all. And that’s what spurned Pop to make a lineup change.

  8. haaaaasoooooo - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    I’m a cautious heat fan, but I would be absolutely ASTOUNDED if Deng went to Miami. The big three all opted out. And now all want back in for big money? Unless they all decide to go “Tim Duncan” for Miami, it could be difficult for Riles to pull off a roster upgrade.
    But Blatche, Isaiah Thomas, and Deng would all be great for this team. They need a Beast of a rebounder to really truly help this team.

    • kb2408 - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      Out of those 3, they might get Blatche. 1 out of 3 ain’t bad, I guess. Deng has to know he’s not the “missing piece” to a title for Miami, so why would he take less money to go there? Plus, this will be his last big contract.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      Problem for Heat fans who want Deng is that Chicago, before trading Deng, offered him $10 million per year, while the media says Riley is asking players to accept closer to $6 million per year.

      Meanwhile, it looks like Carmelo Anthony is sticking with the Knicks, in which case the Bulls would be in the market for a small forward…like Deng.

      Hard to imagine Deng cutting his salary in half to play for the Heat instead of earning more money playing for the Bulls when the Bulls next season could easily be a top-4 seed in the East.

      Deng would be a good get for the Heat since he’d be a natural Shane Battier replacement, but I think he’s out of your team’s price range.

  9. cruzan80 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Pat is looking pretty desperate right now.

    Deng doesn’t even solve any of the issues the team has (PG play, size & age). At this point he’s just throwing stuff at the wall hoping something sticks.

    • bkbell3 - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      cruzan80, pg is the least of their worries because lbj and wade start the offense 95% of the time and neither one is a good spot up jump shooter. They need some size up front and some shooters. A guy like blatche would be nice because he can post and shoot mid-range and rebound when his head is on straight and he might be cheap.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:50 PM


      spot on sir…

      when you’re right, you’re right…

    • casualcommenter - Jul 5, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      It helps their issue of wing defense.

      Shane Battier retired, Wade isn’t a good defender anymore, Ray Allen can’t play good defense, neither can James Jones, etc.

      LeBron James is literally their only consistently good defender against opposing small forwards and shooting guards. Deng would add another name to that list.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 6, 2014 at 2:33 AM

      Deng does solve an issue… i.e. LeBron can only defend one guy at a time, and he’s their best defender on PGs… so, for example, when he switches to someone like Tony Parker, who guards someone like Kawhi Leonard? Deng would be guarding Kawhi Leonard and Leonard would not be scoring 20 ppg facing Deng like he was against non-LeBron Heat defenders.

      That was supposed to be Battier’s job, but Battier is 35 and severely limited offensively so he didn’t get a lot of playing time.

      But you can come up with all sorts of combinations where you can move LeBron around on defense from PG to PF and not have to worry too much about who he was supposed to be guarding at SF. And unlike Battier, with Deng you don’t have a guy who is a complete non-entity on offense if his three isn’t falling.

  10. clevelandrox - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    no way Deng is taking less 10 mill, if he turned down a 10 mill extension w/ the bulls… then factor in that he looked a shadow of himself in Cleveland, he knows this is his last big payday… why Riles wasting his time with clearly unattainable players is comical…and they say Cleveland has a hard time getting FA..LOL im loving it…

  11. andreboy1 - Jul 5, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    I hope Pat took extra time slicking back his hair because that will be one hell of sell to get Deng to take a pay cut AND come off the bench.

    • imakcds - Jul 6, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      I think Riley has gotten himself into a deep pile of s(doo doo)t, and he better start shoveling.

  12. damaddwebba - Jul 5, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    How mu h does he really have in the tank. The Bulls ran him into the ground and he looked like a shell of himself in Cleveland

    • casualcommenter - Jul 5, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      I’m neither a Bulls or Heat fan, but I still believe in Deng.

      There was a report out that Deng was demoralized by how poorly run the Cavaliers were, with players openly disrespecting head coach Mike Brown and not working hard in practice. The knowledge that he was playing on a team that couldn’t come close to 0.500 combined with the fact that he was asked to learn new systems on offense and defense hurt his effectiveness a lot.

      To be clear, I don’t think he’s a legit All-Star at this point, but I think he’d be a great role player on any contending team.

      • nickjackalson - Jul 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        I believe in Deng if my team get him somewhere around 3 years – 21 mil

  13. JT - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    Dent ain’t taking a cut, if Bosh leaves he will have the money to spend for Deng but will it matter then? Probably not..

  14. smackingfools - Jul 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    They only need to sign 6 more all stars. That should put them over the hump.

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