The last 24 hours have been very Cleveland Cavaliers-heavy at ESPN.com. While Brian Windhorst was second to confirm Chris Grant’s firing, there also was a detailed article on Anthony Bennett’s next steps for growth.
In a separate article focused on Bennett, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein also shared some rumblings about Luol Deng and the Cavs summer of 2014. Here is the entire paragraph midway through the Bennett article, with emphasis added by me:
That’s right: What was supposed to be a season exciting enough to make LeBron James think seriously about leaving Miami to come back to the Cavs has descended into such farce that sources close to the situation are already saying that there’s little-to-no chance Deng will agree to stay once he hits free agency.
Deng, who turns 29 in April, is an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season. Previously, there had somewhat positive indications of Deng’s future in Cleveland. He had said he was fine with waiting until the summer to talk.
The Cavs, of course, do own Deng’s Bird Rights. That means they can offer him a more lucrative deal than any other team. Multiple sites previously reported that Deng turned down a three-year $30 million offer from the Bulls, perhaps leading to the eventual trade.
Given the unlikely nature of a resigning, GM David Griffin could look to move Deng this season. Since he was traded within the last two months, however, he cannot be combined with other assets by the Cavs in a theoretical subsequent trade. Cap expert Larry Coon has a great FAQ about this exact detail.
Another big part of the team’s offseason (and next 13 days leading up to the trade deadline) will be the status of Anderson Varejao. The 31-year-old big man has a $4 million guarantee out of his $9.8 million contract for the 2014-15 season. He could be an attractive trade piece for a contending team.
Photo: Mark Duncan, AP