Heat president Pat Riley is attempting to add complementary players to a Heat roster with likely very little cap space in an attempt to persuade the Big 3 to re-sign and continue to challenge for championships. As such, Riles covets a player like free agent Luol Deng, and plans to meet with him today to lay his pitch out, reports Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.
Miami president Pat Riley plans to meet with free agent Luol Deng in Chicago today, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 5, 2014
Riley’s interest in Deng isn’t new. Deng’s a two-way player who fits nicely with Miami’s system on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball. Yet Deng is 29 and unlikely to command as much on the open market in the future if he chooses to sign a long-term deal in Miami.
Reports have also surfaced Deng might be unwilling to take less to play for a title with a team like Miami. Similar to Kyle Lowry — another player Miami targeted earlier in free agency — Deng might want the comfort of a long-term deal that pays him in the vicinity of the $10-12 million many expect he’ll make on the open market.
Then again, Deng has only advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals once — in 2011 with the Bulls — and he might also see this as an opportunity to achieve his goal of winning a title with a short-term deal (perhaps a two-year contract with a player option after the first year), before signing a more expensive long-term deal afterwards. Then again, in the interim a drop in his play could happen, and hence, a drop in his earning power. This is the argument Riley will have to combat in his talks with the native of the of a war-ravaged Sudan today
Deng turned down a three-year, $30 million deal the Bulls offered earlier in the season before they dealt him to Cleveland to play out the rest of his contract this season.
If Riley can induce Deng to take less, and the Heat re-sign their Big Three, it could thrust Miami again into the role of favorite in the Eastern Conference — if not the NBA. Such is the power of adding a player with Deng’s skill-set. If not, the Heat might not even be able to re-sign their Big 3. This could prove a pivotal day in Pat Riley’s brief “window” to convince his three stars he’ll add the players they’ll need to again hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Does Miami have any chance at signing Deng?
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