After a few days of negotiations, Luol Deng agreed to join the Miami Heat over the weekend on a deal that will pay him $20 million over two years. It was reported Deng rejected a three-year, $30 million offer from the Bulls last season before they traded him to Cleveland, so it’s a bit of a surprise he settled for a shorter term deal as a free agent. The 29 year old forward averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals last season with Chicago and Cleveland.
For Pat Riley, it continues his retooling process after LeBron’s announcement on Friday. The two year term is important because Riley has his eye on the summer of 2016, when the salary cap number is expected to go up because of the league’s TV deal. It is, of course, also when Kevin Durant will become an unrestricted free agent.
According to reports, Mario Chalmers is also expected to return on a two-year, $8 million deal. The Heat are continuing to work with Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen to come to terms on contracts as well.
So, the gang will be back, well, except for LeBron. But a team with Chris Bosh, Wade and Deng as core pieces will still be a playoff team in the East, and perhaps even surprise a few people.
Follow me on Twitter @steven_lebron