The Cleveland Cavaliers are fresh off their victory over the Golden State Warriors in the historic Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. While LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love celebrate their win, the front office is now said to be busy looking into ways to keep the championship trophy in Oakland. With this in mind, the Cleveland Cavaliers appears to be eyeing the Luol Deng free agency opportunity this NBA offseason.
The Miami Heat suffered a devastating setback when Chris Bosh had to be sidelined due to his health. At some point, even Dwyane Wade appeared to be questionable in the hardwood court. The absence of these two Miami Heat giants made way for the unexpected rise of Hassan Whiteside. While the center dominated the hardwood court, NBA fans could not help but notice how former Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng greatly contributed to the Miami Heat wins.
At this point, both Whiteside and Deng are available in free agency. While the Miami Heat openly shared their plans to pursue the center, the same could not be said about the future of the small forward. According to analysts, the Miami Heat would not be able to afford Luol Deng if they give in to the max contract demand of Hassan Whiteside.
"The Heat would love to try to find a way to keep him, but even if it finds a taker for Josh McRoberts' salary, it will be very difficult to create double figures in cap space, if Whiteside re-signs here," noted Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. He further shared, "[T]he odds remain against a Deng return if Whiteside comes back."
Where will this lead the 31-year-old star?
Rumors are rife that Luol Deng might return to the Cleveland Cavaliers this NBA offseason. While his stay with the LeBron James team was brief in 2014, there are talks that the ex-Chicago Bulls star plans to sign with the 2015-16 NBA champs as a replacement for Iman Shumpert, who is rumored to be in the trading block, and a substitute for JR Smith.
Apart from Deng, the Miami Heat is rumored to be shopping Goran Dragic and the Cleveland Cavaliers are identified to be an interested party. The 30-year-old shooting guard has one of the expensive salaries in the Dwyane Wade roster. However, Goran Dragic has yet to earn his keep. If the comments of Pat Riley are to be used as reference, then it looks like the exec is reaching the end of his patience for the shooting guard.
"He's got to improve certain areas of his game," said Riley of Goran Dragic. He added, "He's 30, and I've seen players at 32 or 33 get better at certain parts of their game... He's gotta be a player that can create and score when there's no space. That's part of the game also."
What do you think? Should the Cleveland Cavaliers sign Luol Deng and Goran Dragic? Or should the LeBron James team just keep their current lineup? Will the Miami Heat stars fit in with the Kyrie Irving team?