The second tier crop of free agents headlined by Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward Luol Deng, Washington Wizards’ swingman Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets’ forward Chandler Parsons, Detroit Pistons’ big man Greg Monroe, Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Pau Gasol and Indiana Pacers’ guard Lance Stephenson, among others, are all in a holding pattern as they wait for Miami forward LeBron James and New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony to make their decisions.
Until that happens,these players will be stuck in limbo. However, as soon as those decisions are made public (and that could happen as early as Wednesday night), the remaining dominoes will begin to fall.
Deng, who was dealt from the Chicago Bulls to the Cavaliers during the season, is one of the more interesting cases. He is looking for at least $12 million per season, but teams are worried about the miles on his body.
Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball believes the Atlanta Hawks will ultimately pay what it takes to land Deng.
Personally, I think the Hawks are going to pay what it takes to get him. Even if they have to go into the $13-14 million range, that’s the price you pay for relevance and high-caliber talent when you’re a team like the Hawks. They saw how going after top tier guys went for them last year. Deng is a great grab for them, even if they have to pay an extra million or year or two than other teams would to get him.
Deng averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 43.1% from the field, 30.2% from three and 79.1% from the charity stripe last season.