The Luol Deng report from the RealGM scouting service that was the source of the racially charged statements that Hawks GM Danny Ferry said aloud in a June conference call contains several tidbits of collateral information on storylines surrounding Deng the past couple of years. One of the anonymous sources quoted in the report points to hard feelings Deng had toward the Bulls as they allegedly pushed him to play through injury and played hardball with an extension offer. The same source cites “major locker room issues” that existed between two Cavaliers during Deng’s tenure there, and while the names are redacted, many accounts have pointed to tension between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. The report also pointed to interest in Deng from the Hornets, Suns, Mavs and Lakers around last year’s trade deadline. Aside from the most explosive racial comments, the report contains a few mild criticisms of Deng’s ability on the court and his persona off of it, but mostly serves to paint Deng as a valuable player and an upstanding character. While the fallout from the Hawks saga continues, here’s more from other corners of the league:
- Knicks president Phil Jackson tells Scott Cacciola of The New York Times that he and owner James Dolan didn’t speak in August and have otherwise been having only a couple conversations a month as Dolan keeps his promise not to interfere. An agent said to Cacciola that when he appealed to Dolan when Jackson wouldn’t budge in negotiations, he found the owner unwilling to provide recourse behind Jackson’s back, and Dolan insists to the Times scribe that he won’t change his ways if the team starts losing this season.
- Zoran Dragic acknowledged that playing in the NBA appeals to him but said he’s on his way to training camp with Spain’s Unicaja Malaga, as he told Gal Zbačnik of Kosarka.si (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Dragic’s contract with the team reportedly gives him until October 5th to find an NBA deal, and several teams appear to be in pursuit.
- Delonte West has agreed to return to China on a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks, reports Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer (on Twitter). West, who hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012/13 preseason, spent last year with China’s Fujian Sturgeons.