Just a year-and-a-half after signing a four-year, $72 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, Luol Deng’s days of wearing the purple and gold appear numbered. Deng hasn’t played since opening night — with the Lakers preferring to rebuild and develop young talent — and ESPN has reported that the Lakers are working with Deng’s representatives to either trade or buy out the veteran.
Several Heat players lobbied for Dwyane Wade to reunite with the Miami Heat after he reached a buyout with the Chicago Bulls in September. Eddie Jones had a second stint with Miami during the 2006-07 season. Deng’s move to power forward during the Heat’s 48-win 2015-16 season unlocked some versatility for the team. Will Miami have any interest in a reunion with Deng?
I think not.
Similar to my reasoning behind not signing Rudy Gay, I don’t see why Miami would see Deng as a good fit when the Heat have just made a commitment to James Johnson with a four-year contract. The Heat also haven’t given up hope on molding Justise Winslow into a good player, so signing Deng would just stunt his growth.
Deng came to Miami in a strange position — coming to a team that had just lost LeBron James but wasn’t committed to a rebuilding stage. His play over two years in a Miami jersey left more fond memories than disappointments in fans’ minds. But that doesn’t mean a reunion is in anyone’s best interest.