Veteran small forward Luol Deng will command interest from several contenders now that he’s on the open market and believes he still has a lot left in the tank.
Deng, who only played in one game this past season, reached a buyout agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday and is free to sign with any team of his choice.
So far, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the only team with reported interest in the two-time All-Star, but that is likely to change. Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau coached Deng with the Chicago Bulls and the two have a very close bond. Minnesota also has three players on the team who have a strong rapport with Deng in Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose.
I ran into Luol in Miami last night and he was adamant he has a lot left & will show the league this year.
He's one of the best people in the league & has been stuck in NBA purgatory last couple years.
I'm rooting for him. https://t.co/Err9FhA6A2
— nick wright (@getnickwright) September 1, 2018
Deng has career averages of 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 880 NBA games with the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Lakers. He’s not the same player he once was, but Deng still provides great veteran leadership in the locker room, is a high IQ player and has valuable playoff experience.
The seventh overall pick in the 2004 draft, Deng has shot 45.5 percent from the floor and 33.2 percent from beyond the arc in his career. In 62 postseason games, Deng has posted averages of 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Deng is unlikely to return to the Heat despite the franchise having high regard for him. The 33-year-old spent two seasons in South Beach. The Heat have already surpassed the luxury tax threshold and are still trying to re-sign Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem.