As the trade deadline nears, the Washington Wizards have emerged as a suitor for the Cavaliers' recently-acquired swingman and longtime Chicago Bull Luol Deng, Marc Stein reported Thursday morning. The Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks were also rumored to be in the mix, according to Stein.
While there's a lot of interest in Deng, the Wizards and Pistons don't have enough in assets for any serious discussions about a trade, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. The Phoenix Suns are also a team that's being asked to ship a first-round pick to Cleveland and have the ability to do so. Yet, they remain hesitant to trade away their first-round picks while breaking up a core that's put them in position to surprisingly make the playoffs.
The small forward is making $14.28 million this season and on an expiring deal, so his contract won't be the easiest to deal. Wizards power forward/center Nene is making $13 million this season, and Marcin Gortat's $7.73 million contract is the second-highest on the team. Washington is capped out, so it would have to match salaries under the rules of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.
Deng has had some bits of criticism for the Cleveland organization since arriving via trade in early January, and the Cavaliers remain uncertain they'll be able to re-sign him once he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. Interim general manager David Griffin is now reportedly exploring trade options in order to prevent losing Deng for nothing during the offseason.
Cleveland has already made a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for big man Spencer Hawes, so it'll be interesting to see if Deng remains part of the team's push toward the playoffs.