The trade deadline may have passed, but the Orlando Magic are already planning their next roster moves. Even though free agency doesn’t begin until July 1, Mitch Lawrence of nydailynews.com reports that the Magic are interested in signing impending free agent Luol Deng. Deng was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a cost cutting move earlier this season, but already seems like a lock to leave Cleveland.
Deng has averaged 15 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game since the the trade, but has only connected on 41.9% of his filed goal attempts. It’s possible that the dysfunction in Cleveland has hurt his effectiveness. He’s not a natural creator and works best as a third option on offense roaming for open looks and cuts. The Cleveland offense is so vanilla with almost every play a pick & roll or pick & pop that Deng’s offensive value isn’t being maximized.
Offensive struggles aside, Deng is best known for his defensive impact. At 6’8″ he can match-up with the elite small forwards in the league or switch on to any player who’s not a center. He’s 29 with a lot mileage on his tires, so it’s fair to ask how much he has left in the tank, but for now he remains an intriguing player.
Beyond his basketball impact, Deng seems to fit the hard-working/low-maintenance attitude that Orlando is trying to foster. His veteran leadership can be a boon to the young players.
He won’t come cheap. He already turned down a 3 year/$30 million extension from the Bulls earlier this season according to Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski. The Magic will have more than enough cap room even if they keep Jameer Nelson, but Deng would absorb most of that room.
What do you tihnk? Is signing a free agent Luol deng a good move for Orlando? Let us know in the comments section below! Want more Magic? Sign up for our newsletter!