Don’t believe the hype!
Recent reports, like this one from Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, of the Atlanta Hawks being “re-engaged” on free-agent forward Luol Deng are misleading — they can’t afford him, and there is zero chance of Deng signing with the Hawks this offseason.
A few days later, follow-up reports came out that Atlanta “continues to press” on the issue of signing Deng following recruitment pitches from former Chicago Bulls teammates Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha, who recently agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Hawks.
However, Atlanta’s recent agreement with free-agent swingman Kent Bazemore on a two-year, $4 million deal killed any chance of them landing Deng.
Before the Bazemore agreement, the Hawks had just $11.5 million in cap space to play with. Even if they offered Deng the entire load, it still wouldn’t be enough as he is seeking a salary of $12 million per year.
Now, after the agreement with Bazemore, Atlanta has just $9.5 million in cap space to spend. This means there is absolutely no way the Hawks could land Deng, as he surely won’t agree to a deal which would pay him less than $10 million annually, no matter how well of a recruiting pitch Korver and Sefolosha make.
Deng reportedly turned down a three-year, $30 million contract extension from the Chicago Bulls — where he spent his entire 10-year career — in January, so why would he sign with Atlanta for the same amount? He wouldn’t. That’s why any rumors linking Deng to the Hawks are bogus.
Sam Amick of USA Today Sports sums up the Hawks-Deng rumors perfectly:
Amick also added that despite of revived, or re-engaged discussions, talks have “quickly died down” between the two sides.
Money talks and in this case Deng can’t hear a word the Hawks are saying.