When the Cleveland acquired former All-Star forward Luol Deng, the entire Cavaliers nation was excited. Deng is a proven star, one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and also a great contributor on offense. In fact, he was the leading scorer of his former team, the Chicago Bulls. Now, more than a month after the trade, things don’t look that good for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers hoped that Deng would become their next big star. Playing along Kyrie Irving, he could be the player to whom the Cavaliers would base their transformation from a struggling team to a competitive one. Very soon, though, the dreams for a title but even for a great course towards the playoff got replaced by grumble and rumble around the team’s bad state.
Luol Deng reportedly told a person of his close environment that the Cavaliers look like a mess. Things that happen during the practice wouldn’t be tolerated by the Bulls. His point was obvious, the Cavaliers are not a serious team, at least not as serious as Chicago. So what could this mean?
Luol Dent will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Previously, the 28-year old forward rejected a contract extension from the Bulls, which would pay him $10 million annually. It’s obvious that the Cavaliers will have to offer something more in order to retain him in their arsenal. However, even a bigger contract might not be enough for the Cavaliers to keep Deng in Cleveland.
Deng is expected to draw major interest from a bunch of teams around the league. He is projected to be at least willing to listen to what the other teams have to offer. After all, many times has it been proven that money is not everything in the NBA. So even if the Cavaliers had the best offer, they could still end up losing him during the summer.
Of course, the Andrew Bynum – Luol Deng trade was not a mistake for the Cavaliers. Bynum clearly had no future with the team. He lacked motivation and he was completely off focus. The point is that maybe Bynum’s lack of will to contribute might not be 100 percent his fault.
That’s because the Cavaliers seem to be a team without discipline, on and off the court. Several times have we heard about existing issues amongst the players of the team. It’s obvious that it takes much more than just a good team on the paper or stars for the Cavaliers to win games.
Thankfully, the team has managed to turn things around. Cleveland has now won six games in a row. It might be a coincidence that the Cavs decided to fire their GM, Chris Grant, but it might also not be.
Whichever the course of the franchise till the end of the season is, the sure thing is that the Cavaliers might not be able to retain Luol Deng in their roster after the summer, at least unless they prove that they are a team capable of making it to the highest level.
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