The Atlanta Hawks and Luol Deng have had reported mutual interest, and there is a chance Deng could be a Hawk heading into the 2014-15 season.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, new Hawk Thabo Sefolosha and current Hawk Kyle Korver are recruiting Deng:
The Hawks are slated to have about $11.5 million in salary cap room once the free agency moratorium lifts on July 10. Their recent agreement with former Oklahoma City Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha on a four-year, $12 million deal appears to have helped their efforts to land Deng. The two players were together with the Chicago Bulls from 2006 to 2009 and had a very good relationship. The same goes for Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was with Deng in Chicago from 2010 to 2012. Deng spent his first nine seasons in Chicago before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in January.
Still, Deng — who is seeking a salary of about $12 million annually — will have a long list of suitors and likely won’t make a decision until fellow small forward Carmelo Anthony makes his.
The Hawks won’t likely budge if Deng wants $12 million, but if they can convince him to take less, then Danny Ferry and Mike Budenholzer seem to think this will be a perfect fit. As of late Sunday night, Marc Stein of ESPN reported that the Hawks are still in hot pursuit of the veteran forward:
Amid all this focus on LeBron/Melo/Bosh … word is Atlanta continues to press for one of Miami’s presumably out-of-reach targets: Luol Deng
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 7, 2014
After Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James sign with their teams, Deng is likely to be on the top of many teams’ lists. Even if Atlanta would be willing to pay $12 million per year for Deng, he is likely to get that offer or more from someone else.
We will keep you updated with this story as new details emerge.