The Hawks were reportedly mulling a run at Luol Deng as of last week, and it looks like they’ve indeed moved forward with a pursuit, as coach Mike Budenholzer was set to meet Thursday with the 29-year-old forward, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports. Amick also adds the Rockets to the list of suitors for the client of Herb Rudoy and Ronald Shade.
Deng is seeking $12MM salaries, roughly the same amount of space Atlanta has beneath the cap, Amick writes. Atlanta’s deal with Thabo Sefolosha has apparently boosted the team’s stock with Deng, who has a close relationship with his former Bulls teammate, and Deng is also friends with Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, another former sidekick in Chicago, Amick notes.
Reports on Thursday indicated that the Clippers and Deng had mutual interest and that the 10-year veteran would speak Thursday with Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, who’s searching for sign-and-trade scenarios to upgrade his capped-out roster. Still, it looks like Rivers is demanding too much for Cleveland’s liking for the Cavs to go along with a sign-and-trade involving Deng, Amick says.
Deng is unlikely to make his decision before Carmelo Anthony does, according to Amick, and the Rockets in particular would be inclined to wait as they hold out hope of signing ‘Melo. The Heat, Wizards, Mavs, Suns, Bulls have all been reported to have interest in Deng since the start of free agency, but while Shade has said his client would welcome a chance to re-sign with Chicago, Amick deems the idea of Deng reuniting with the Bulls as a long shot. Washington would only remain in the market for Deng if they can’t come to terms with Trevor Ariza, Amick also says.