Report: Luol Deng opts in to last year of Heat contract


Former Duke forward Luol Deng has opted in to the final year of his two year contract with the Miami Heat according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Deng originally joined the Heat last year after LeBron James vacated Miami for Cleveland.

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Deng’s decision to opt in to his final contract year as been something of an anomaly against the back drop of so many high profile players opting out of contracts. However Deng, like other Miami Heat members, had his share of injuries last year. It could be that the ten million dollar number looks pretty good to him right.

Deng also is probably looking over his shoulder at more recent Duke product Justise Winslow. Taken with the tenth pick in last Thursday’s draft, Winslow shares a natural position with Deng. If Deng had opted out, there is a good chance the team might have let him walk and used the ten million saved to re-sign other players.

However the Heat is going through a shaky off season too. Dwyane Wade has decided to play hardball with his renegotiation. As leverage against his current team, Wade has pointed out that there is money in Los Angeles and friends in Cleveland.

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The Heat are also looking to re-sign Goran Dragic. If they can weather the storm with Wade, the Heat have an opportunity to bring a solid core group of players that just missed the playoffs last year. Deng and Winslow will be important parts of that team, regardless of the roles they are asked to play.

On the other hand, the return of Deng gives the Heat a little insurance against the chance that Wade does leave. There is most likely some secret plan somewhere for using Winslow as a shooting guard. No Heat fan really wants to see that plan in action.

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