The Atlanta Hawks are coming off of a very impressive playoff run, in which they nearly defeated the Indiana Pacers in seven games. They are looking to make a move or two this offseason, and there are reports that they could be looking at a very big name. According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, the Hawks are interested in signing former Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng.
“While the Hawks didn’t finish the season above .500 (38-44), they gave the Indiana Pacers a scare in the first round, despite playing without Al Horford (torn pectoral). Deng didn’t mesh in Cleveland. He’d be a nice addition to the Hawks, both as a scorer and defender. A three or four year deal ($37.6-$51.2 million) starting at almost $12 million might be enough to sway Deng, who doesn’t appear likely to re-sign with Cleveland regardless.” - Eric Pincus
This is certainly interesting news, but it would make a lot of sense for the Hawks. The small forward position is the one position that they really could use an improvement in, as DeMarre Carroll isn’t quite the NBA starting material that the rest of the starting five would be. He would also add the type of defender that could slow down offensive threats like Paul George.
Deng played in 63 games between the Bulls and Cavaliers this past season, starting in all 63 of those appearances. He averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game, while also averaging a steal per game. There is no doubt that he would make the Hawks a better team, but would it be worth spending that type of money when Carroll will improve off of last season?
Overall, this move would make a lot of sense for both sides. The Hawks would be improving their roster and bringing in a much needed defender, while Deng would be getting a big role with a contending team. It wouldn’t be very surprising to see the two sides in contract talks when free agency opens up this offseason.