Cleveland brought in Luol Deng because owner Dan Gilbert laid down a “playoffs or bust” mandate and then GM Chris Grant realized they were more bust — even in the lowly East — so he tried to add an All-Star level player at their weakest spot.
That likely will not work (Cleveland is three games out of the last playoff spot in the East, and it didn’t save Grant’s job as he was canned anyway) but it creates another issue — after looking around the situation in Cleveland Deng reportedly plans to leave as a free agent this summer. He doesn’t want to stick around.
Which means Cleveland is considering trading him again, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirmed this as well.
Under the rules of the CBA Cleveland can trade Deng however they cannot package him with anyone else in a trade. Also, he can’t go back to Chicago.
Because of the situation any offers the Cavs get are likely lowball ones — if a team is really interested in Deng they can wait until this summer and try to sign him as a free agent and not have to surrender a player or picks to get him.
However, teams feeling they need a boost to make a playoff push this season (Golden State? Minnesota?) could be willing to rent him, especially if they feel it gives them a leg up on re-signing him this summer.
I’d personally bet against a deal getting done, but it’s something to watch the next couple days.