Despite the price being outside of the Clippers pay range, Luol Deng may still find himself a member of the organization by way of sign-and-trade, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski’s latest tweet, he’s open to the idea.
Free agent Luol Deng intrigued with Clippers sign-and-trade possibilities, sources tell Yahoo. He’s expected to speak with Doc Rivers today.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2014
Why do the Clippers need to enforce a sign-and-trade in order to acquire Luol Deng? They lack the cap space to sign him outright. With so much of the cap dedicated to the Big 3 (Paul, Griffin, Jordan) and the role players (Redick, Barnes, Dudley, Crawford), there’s no room for a signing worth $8-$10 million which is what Deng is expected to command.
So to make space, the Clippers would sign deal to a contract and send out salary in the process. According to the media, the players Los Angeles has on the trading block are Jamal Crawford ($5.45 million, non-guaranteed in 2015-16), Matt Barnes ($3.96 million), Jared Dudley ($4.25 million, ETO in 2015-16, and last years first round pick in Reggie Bullock ($1.2 million). With each player being openly available, you have to assume the Clippers would let Cleveland pick whichever package makes the deal fit.
Most importantly, sign-and-trading for Deng would allow the Clippers to retain their taxpayers mid-level exception which is worth $3.278 this offseason. With the Clippers lacking in the reserve unit, specifically at point guard and in the frontcourt, that salary could well treat those areas.
With several teams interested in Deng, the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls to name a few, it won’t be easy wooing in Deng, but the small forward being intrigued in a possible deal is a good sign for the Clippers.