There’s little chance, if any, that Luol Deng will choose to re-sign with the Cavs in free agency this summer, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who passes along the news in a piece on Anthony Bennett‘s development. Deng praised the Cleveland organization in January, when he said he was “more than open” to signing an extension, and he even encouraged LeBron James to sign with the club, but it appears he’s soured on the team since. Deng reportedly told a close friend of his displeasure with the Cavs, who’ve seemingly been a hub of unrest all season.
Agent Herb Rudoy held off on extension talks in the days after Deng came to the Cavs via trade last month, though there were rumors that Rudoy would seek salaries of more than $13.5MM a year for Deng. Rudoy and Deng quickly rejected a three-year, $30MM extension offer from the Bulls shortly before the trade. The soon-to-be 29-year-old Deng figures to be a sought-after commodity on the market this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension, and it seems most likely that he’ll become a free agent.
The Cavs will have his Bird Rights, meaning they can sign him to a five-year deal with slightly higher raises than the four-year contract he could get from another team. Cleveland might be reluctant to commit major money for five seasons to a player with whom the team has gone 4-10 so far, so it remains to be seen how much of a financial advantage the Cavs will possess. Just who would negotiate for the team is also a question mark, since it’s uncertain whether interim GM David Griffin will keep his job through the summer.