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.
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.