Feb 26, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng (9) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (6) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Rumors: Luol Deng at top of Atlanta hawks free agent list

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The Atlanta Hawks are a team who want to get better this offseason but not gradually so. Some teams are content with growing, as the Philadelphia 76ers are excellent examples of a team unafraid to be terrible for the sake of their future. Free agency is a way that teams will look to cut corners on rebuilding this offseason and the Hawks are a team eying some big names.

They’ve been in the discussion for LeBron James — by their own doing, not by any means the laws of reality — but it seems their focus is on a much more realistic goal.

According to the Atalanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks not only have interest in Deng this summer but he’s at the top of their list of free agents they plan on pursuing.

The Hawks cleared salary cap space Sunday night by agreeing to trade Lou Williams and the rights to first-round draft pick Lucas Nogueira to the Raptors for John Salmons, who will be waived upon the completion of the deal Monday. With the move the Hawks have more than $15 million to spend in free agency but it is not certain that the team will  use it all to sign Deng.

Atlanta needs a veteran star like Deng if they want to finally make name for themselves in the Easter Conference following so many seasons of just only mildly doing so. They had a decent run a few years ago and nearly pulled off the upset first round victory against the Indiana Pacers, but overall the Hawks are more of a novelty at the moment than a contender and that’s something the front office is very clearly looking to change.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks NBA Free Agency

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