The Cleveland Cavaliers had to be aware that it was possible that Luol Deng could easily walk away this offseason, as he’s on an expiring contract. And if ESPN’s Marc Stein is right, he may have already decided to walk. From his very good and very accurate column on Anthony Bennett:
And the general toxicity in the air around this team — where rumblings of player discontent with Mike Brown are getting louder by the day — makes you wonder if they have any hope of re-signing newly acquired (and shell-shocked) Luol Deng in free agency.
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.
This puts Cleveland in an interesting situation. Although it would be difficult for the Cavaliers to move Deng soon soon after acquiring him, it would be the way to get the most value out of him if he is indeed set on leaving. This also isn’t the first time there have been reports indicating that Deng is less than happy. He has said that he is open to signing an extension with the team this summer, but that’s likely just a way to politely say he doesn’t exactly know where he wants to play next season.
The Cavaliers have been any better since Deng came over in a trade, as this 17-33 team is 5-10 since acquiring Deng from the Chicago Bulls. They are also are 2-8 in their last 10 and just this week fired embattled general manager Chris Grant.
Still, barring a late season push and a surprise playoff push, it would not be shocking to see Deng walk this summer for a contender (or a team legitimately on the rise). And who could blame him?