Luol deng was the big free agent acquisition in Miami this summer, after LeBron James decided he’d had enough of the Heat and chose to return home to once again play for the Cavaliers.
Due to a combination of injuries and a sheer lack of talent, Miami has struggled in the first part of the season, and with a record of just 15-20, it seems as though the Heat won’t be doing the type of postseason damage they expected.
As such, the rumors have begun to swirl. The Grizzlies have reportedly expressed interest in dealing for Deng, but it’s unclear if Miami is at all interested in trading him for spare parts.
Deng himself wants to make it clear that he has no part in this, and isn’t the one pushing to be sent out of town.
When asked about an ESPN report that the Memphis Grizzlies are interested in trading for him, Deng said he is happy in Miami and is not looking to leave.
“It’s not in my hands or anything,” he said Thursday after the team’s shootaround at Moda Center. “I’ve just gotta continue doing what I need to do.” …
“I’ve had no issues,” he said. “My whole thing this year has been trying to get it right. It’s never been that I’m unhappy. Just because there are trade rumors– I’m not the one asking for a trade… I’m not the one starting the rumors or whatever’s going on. I know just as much as you, honestly.”
Deng signed a short-term deal with the Heat this past summer, agreeing to stay in Miami on a contract for two years and $20 million, with Deng holding the player option for a little more than $10 million next season,
He hedged his bets a bit by signing only a two-year deal, and that contract is part of what makes him such a desirable piece in trade.
Deng isn’t so valuable that Miami wouldn’t consider something, especially if he isn’t a fit with the personnel currently in place. The Heat could essentially erase the mistake of signing him by dealing for players on expiring contracts, thus recreating the salary cap space it had in order to re-use it by signing one or more players that may be able to help the cause in a future season.