Following a disappointing start, many Heat fans are now wondering if the best thing for the future of the franchise would be to bottom out this season and keep their top-10 protected 2015 first round pick that they potentially owe the Philadelphia 76ers.
ESPN's Marc Stein is now reporting that the Memphis Grizzlies may be interested in acquiring Luol Deng from the Heat, a move that would almost certainly drop the Heat further in the standings, thus making them more likely to keep the pick.
Story going online now: ESPN sources say Grizzlies, looking to bolster wing rotation, are pursuing trade for either Luol Deng or Jeff Green— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 8, 2015
The Heat signed Deng to a very team-friendly two year, $20 million contract this offseason with a player option after the first year. Deng has performed well in his time with the Heat, posting a line of 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game while shooting 50% from the floor and 36% from deep.
Should the Heat decide to trade Deng, they will likely seek a first round pick and no long term money in return. The Grizzlies currently owe their first round pick to Denver (via Cleveland as part of the Timofey Mozgov trade), but the pick is protected so that Memphis keeps the pick if it falls in either the 1-5 range or 15-30 range. They also have the expiring contract of Tayshaun Prince which could be attractive to Miami as well.
Stein reports that it's unclear whether or not the Heat are interested in moving Deng at this time, but it's definitely a situation to monitor moving forwards.