According to MySportsLegion on Twitter, the Indiana Pacers have inquired about Luol Deng. Deng was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers just last month in a move that sent Andrew Bynum to the Bulls, who cut him immediately.
The Pacers called the Cavs about a potential Luol Deng trade….
— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) February 19, 2014
With Deng also being in the final year of his contract, this trade would make a lot of sense as it would give the Pacers more cap space this coming offseason. But it would also put them in a potential bind.
That bind revolves around their signing of Bynum. If the Pacers were to trade Mahinmi, it would leave them with only Bynum to back up Roy Hibbert, which is fine as long as Bynum can stay healthy and play to his potential for the rest of the season. But what if he doesn’t? If Bynum gets hurt or becomes a distraction like he has almost everywhere else, the Pacers would have no safety net.
The second dilemma is giving up on Granger, who has spent his entire career in Indiana and stuck with them through their darkest times. Granger has earned his chance to fight for a championship with the Pacers one last time. While he’s not returned to his old self yet, one has to remember Granger has only been back for roughly two months after sitting out over a year.
And then there’s the dilemma of whether you start Deng or bring him off the bench like Granger. At this point Lance Stephenson has earned his spot in the starting lineup and bringing Deng off the bench may not fit with his plans, possibly causing a distraction. Could it work, sure, but it could completely backfire and hurt the Pacers’ chances of winning a championship. While the same could be said about Bynum, if he acts up the Pacers can still cut him, leaving their current squad intact.
The trade is just in the rumor stage and Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski has already said the deal is likely going nowhere given Deng’s inability to commit to a long-term contract with any team that trades for him.
Y! Sources: Luol Deng’s unwillingness to commit to a long-term extension before free agency makes trade unlikely. http://t.co/TObSpSzfNq
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2014
This is a move that many believe would push the Pacers over the top, like many said when they signed Bynum, but it could do more harm than good in the long run.