Luol Deng may have played his last game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown told media present at practice today that Deng will miss Wednesday’s season finale against the Brooklyn Nets due to a back injury.
Forward Luol Deng (back) won’t play in the season finale on Wednesday. Coach Mike Brown said he doesn’t know about Bennett, Miles
— Bob Finnan (@BobCavsinsider) April 14, 2014
— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) April 14, 2014
Deng has missed the past few games due to the back as well. In 40 games as a Cavalier after being traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Bynum and a heavily protected first-round pick, Deng averaged 14.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 33.8 minutes per game. All of those numbers are below his career average.
What comes next is fairly predictable. When the Cavaliers acquired Deng, the risk was there. He came in on an expiring contract and from a veteran contender to the NBA’s second youngest team. And while Deng did have a few strong performances, his play with the Cavaliers was poor. He also had to refute reports of his unhappiness and reports that he would not resign at the end of the season.
As a result, Deng has likely played his last game with the Cavaliers. Although the Cavaliers hoped that Deng would turn the small forward (and veteran presence, for that matter), the partnership hasn’t worked out. Thus, when free agency begins, expect the Cavaliers and Deng to part ways.