Although the Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to retain Luol Deng for a long term, after acquiring him some weeks ago, there are many chances the 28-year old star forwards finds another team during the summer. Deng will be an unrestricted free-agent this summer and there will be a bunch of suitors making requests to acquire his talents. The Dallas Mavericks are certainly one of them.
When Cleveland landed Deng through a trade with the Chicago Bulls, they did increase their chances to retain Deng for the years to come. Especially if the Cavs manage to record a solid course with Deng onboard and make it to the playoffs, it will become more probable for the team to continue its course with Deng at the starting small forward role.
Of course, Deng will certainly require a higher paycheck in order to stay. As reported just after the trade occurred, the 6’9” forward rejected a three-year extension worth $30 million from the Bulls. As a result, the Cavaliers will most probably have to put their hand deep into their pocket to keep Deng onboard.
That’s when the Dallas Mavericks enter the game. As the owner of the team, Mark Cuban has expressed, he plans to make efforts and improve the roster during the summer. The big contract of Dirk Nowitzki expires this summer and so do the contracts of Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. As a result, the Mavs will have much financial flexibility to re-organize their future.
Of course, there are many chances Dallas re-sings Nowitzki but he could agree on a smaller salary. That would further improve the team’s chances to chase Luol Deng. Dallas could offer Deng a contract that he would have difficulty rejecting, especially if by summer he becomes dissatisfied with his current team.
Luol Deng would be a great fit and a valuable member of this Cleveland Cavaliers team. He is a major upgrade to Marion, who currently is the starting small forward of the team and will also significantly upgrade the Mavericks’ perimeter defense. In fact, Dallas has one of the weakest defenses in the league. The Mavs rank 23rd in the league in points allowed. They definitely need a proven defender to contain opposing wing stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Carmelo Anthony.
Deng can do all that plus much more. During his tenure with the Chicago Bulls and especially when Derrick Rose was down with injuries, Deng proved that he can also be a leading scorer. He can shoot but also drive. Of course, in a team that also features dominant scorers like Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, he won’t need to score 30 points every night. Nonetheless, his contribution will be important.
Even if Deng doesn’t end up in Dallas, he will certainly draw much interest from lots of teams around the league. He was expected to do so even if he wasn’t traded to the Cavaliers. Now, after the trade, the Cavs hold the upper hand in re-signing Luol Deng, but they can’t be sure that they will keep him in their arsenal.