Report: Heat could replace LeBron James with Luol Deng

Report: Heat could replace LeBron James with Luol Deng
July 12, 2014, 6:45 pm
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Mark Strotman

He won't be playing with LeBron James, but it appears Luol Deng is closing in on becoming the newest member of the Miami Heat.

According to multiple reports, Miami is "making progress in its pursuit" of the former Bull to team up with Chris Bosh, who signed a five-year, $118 million deal, and Dwyane Wade, who is expected to re-up in Miami just days after LeBron James returned home to Cleveland.

The small forward market has heated up in the past week, beginning with the Jazz matching Gordon Hayward's four-year, $63 million offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets to keep him in Utah. The Houston Rockets signed Trevor Ariza to a four-year, $32 million deal Saturday and reportedly are still mulling over the Dallas Mavericks' offer sheet for Chandler Parsons (three years, $46 million).

[MORE: Bulls join free agency party, agree to deal with Pau Gasol]

And with James off the board to Cleveland and Carmelo Anthony preparing to sign a near-max deal in New York, that leaves Miami and Washington the only two teams left out on the small forward carousel. The one caveat, however, is that the Wizards only have their mid-level exception remaining to use in free agency. Considering Deng turned down a three-year, $30 million deal last year with the Bulls before being traded to the Cavaliers, he'll command more on the open market. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Deng's potential deal in Miami would be near $10 million per year on a short deal. The Heat, which began the offseason with an NBA-record $55 million in cap room, will have ample cap space to get a deal done.

Deng averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists with the Bulls and Cavaliers a year ago. He also is drawing interest from the Macericks, Lakers and Hawks.