When Luol Deng was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers in early January, it changed the direction and focus of two teams in the NBA. What the trade didn’t do was deter potential free agent suitors for Deng who could care less about where he is now and care exclusively about his expiring contract.
One thing that the trade does is it allows Deng to shine in Cleveland and possibly earn a larger payday on the open market this summer. NBA.com analyst David Aldridge believes the move to Cleveland could benefit Deng in big ways and could eventually lead him to the Dallas Mavericks.
If Luol Deng rallies Cleveland to a playoff spot in the East, he’s going to assure himself a pretty strong payday this summer — either from the Cavs or elsewhere. (I suspect a call from Dallas would be forthcoming on or around July 1, for example.)
Even if Deng doesn’t lead the Cavs on some miracle run through the Eastern Conference playoffs — a scenario which could include him knocking off his old team in Chicago — he’s still expected to be a top free agent this offseason. Dallas likes players of Deng’s caliber and with plenty of tread left on the tires, it could be a marriage destined to occur.