NBA Free Agency: Luol Deng and Other Updates
Mar 30, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng (9) runs during a game against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 90-76. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The big splashes are done but that doesn’t mean NBA free agency is done offering surprises. What are the latest updates?
Pat Riley doing everything possible to fill LeBron void with Deng signing
Losing LeBron James was simply something the Miami Heat could never hope to get over. Still, team president Pat Riley has worked furiously to get his roster strong enough to stay relevant in the Eastern Conference. It started with the signings of Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger to boost the depth and shooting for the roster. Then the first big move came to pass when Chris Bosh returned on a five-year $118 million deal. Riley hopes his latest move will be one that yields the most results as two-time All-Star forward Luol Deng agreed to a deal. It doesn’t look championship worthy on paper, but the Heat have done a nice job in NBA free agency thus far.
Rockets allow Chandler Parsons to depart for Mavericks
Perhaps the most surprising news of the period thus far was what happened with the Houston Rockets. Having missed out on their chase of Bosh, it was assumed the team would match the offer made by the Dallas Mavericks to key restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. In an amazing twist, the Rockets instead elected to let the 25-year old depart, signing a three-year, $46 million. Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season. The Mavericks are instantly a better team. Houston on the other hand is hoping veteran Trevor Ariza can fill the void.
Pistons nab Caron Butler and D.J. Augustin
They haven’t made any huge splashes aside from re-signing Andre Drummond but the Detroit Pistons have found ways to improve their roster in what is becoming a murderous Central division. The first was a deal for 34-year old veteran forward Caron Butler. The former All-Star who helped Dallas win a championship in 2011 was a big help to the Oklahoma City Thunder last season off the bench. He averaged 10.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Detroit followed that by inking point guard D.J. Augustin, who revitalized his career in Chicago last season with 13.1 points and 4.4 assists per game off the bench.
Bulls bring back Kirk Hinrich
It has been a busy week of NBA free agency for the Chicago Bulls. After landing Pau Gasol in a major deal, they also brought in European star Nikola Mirotic to fortify what may be one of the deepest front courts in the league. At that point Chicago shifted their focus to adding depth to their back court behind Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Unfortunately D.J. Augustin, one of their primary targets, signed in Detroit. However, they were able to salvage the situation by retaining Kirk Hinrich. Not only a great leader on and off the floor, the veteran combo guard gave them valuable minutes last season and posted 9.1 points, 3.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Keeping him in house fortifies their bench.