Mavs Talking To Cavs About Luol Deng
The Mavs' pursuit of the Cavs' Luol Deng -- as unlikely as all such deals are -- is very real. It is born in part out of Dallas' confidence that Dirk and The Triangle of Trust will be unbeatably persuasive this summer when Deng is free to shop his services around the league.
But as the 2 p.m. (Dallas time) deadline approaches ... how persuasive can the Mavs be when it comes to the Cavs?
Cleveland is not bailing out on the season, it seems, as its deadline-pickup of center Spencer Hawes would demonstrate. But the Cavs are well-aware of the possibility that Deng will not re-up with them this summer -- even though he would be eligible for a five-year deal (worth as much as $110 mil if Cleveland opts to go that direction).
Meanwhile, Deng could only get a four-year deal (worth up to $86 mil total) if he bolts from Cleveland (for Dallas or anywhere else).
In the middle of this, a quote from an NBA source: "Cleveland's kind of a mess right now. They don't know if they are buyers or sellers.''
Maybe, the Dallas Mavericks hope, they are both.
Buyers on Hawes. And sellers on Deng.
The Cavs' actions are being overseen by acting general manager David Griffin, who takes over from the fired Chris Grant. Since that move, the Cavs have won five straight and at 21-33 can now fun for the eighth spot in the East playoffs.
The Mavs and Cavs have talked in recent hours, we are told. Deng's name is among those broached. The reality of where the talks will likely go? Said one source:
"Dallas would love Deng but the price hasn't been right.''
There is plenty to love. Deng is 6-9, a two-time All-Star with a worker-bee reputation and 19 points and seven rebounds per game to offer. At 28, he's not an "heir'' to Dirk -- but depending on what Dallas forfeits in a deal, he makes the Mavs better now ... and better in 2014 and beyond, assuming he re-ups here.
The Mavs will have that big money available (which is not the same as us saying Deng will merit the max-max, though it can be argued that it's time to overpay for a true All-Star). As we've noted before, if Dallas doesn't get him now, it can/will bid on him in the summer. ... and can have an edge over Cleveland assuming the Cavs don't trade him elsewhere today.
The upside as the deadline clock ticks: There is Mavs love for Deng. The downside: While the talks continue, there may be a lack of traction in those talks. ... and that's why all we might get is a press conference explaining inactivity.
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