The Heat hopes Luol Deng, who’s undecided about his more than $10.15MM player option, sticks around for at least one more season after he gave the team exactly what was needed — solid shooting and rebounding — Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post writes. Deng said, according to Lieser, that it was a challenging season because it was his first with the team and there was a lot of turnover. Deng, 30, averaged 14 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and shot 46.9% from the field, which, as Lieser points out, are all similar to his career averages. Lieser adds that keeping Deng for one year is mutually beneficial to the player and team, considering his age and the expected rise of the salary cap next season.
“Lu’s a very unique player — you can’t put him in a specific box,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s a great off-the-ball, active, energy-type guy, and when you have more playmakers out there, the better he looks and the better he makes those guys look. When we put all that together, you’ll see a more comfortable, confident, aggressive Luol Deng.”
There’s more from around the basketball world:
- The Pistons, who own the eighth pick in the draft, have about six “primary” players they are eyeing to take with the selection, according to president of basketball operations and head coach Stan Van Gundy, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. Forwards must dominate that group, Mayo adds, because the team has Andre Drummond at center and depth at both guard positions. Van Gundy likes perimeter floor stretchers offensively who can defend the pick-and-roll, writes Mayo, who lists these players as potential options: Justise Winslow, Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky, Kelly Oubre and Kristaps Porzingis. “I think there’s a lot of guys that are good players and have a lot to offer,” Van Gundy said. “But I think every team may view those guys a little bit differently in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, besides the fit for their team and how they want to play. That’s why I think right now for us that there’s got to be a fairly large group of people that we keep an open mind about.”
- Nedim Buza, Lucas Dias Silva, Alan Williams, Sam Thompson and TaShawn Thomas will work out with the Jazz, the team tweeted from its official account.