In today’s latest NBA news, Chicago and Luol Deng remain distant in negotiations for a contract extension, Kevin Durant tells the media that he would welcome an opportunity to train with Hakeem Olajuwon, and the Mavericks go bargain-hunting on another free agent big man.
Contract negotiations stall between Bulls and Deng
Sam Aggrey of Comcast SportsNet Chicago reports contract talks between the Chicago Bulls and their All Star swingman, Luol Deng, have hit an impasse.
Deng, who is entering the final year of his contract, figures to be one of the most coveted free agents on next summer’s open market.
While the Bulls would love to bring Deng back, the two-time All Star may price himself out of the Bulls’ comfort zone.
Deng’s representatives recently met with the Bulls’ front office in hopes of striking an extension before the start of the season. After discussions, however, Bulls’ GM Gar Forman informed Deng’s representatives that the team was not prepared to offer the star a longterm contract.
Deng is one of the league’s best two-way players and should command a contract surpassing that of Andre Iguodala’s four year, $48 million deal from Golden State this offseason.
At only 28, Deng is still in the prime of his career. He averaged 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and, most impressively, 38.7 minutes per game for Tom Thibodeau last season.
Kevin Durant open to working with Hakeem Olajuwon
Yesterday, we covered Hakeem Olajuwon’s desire to privately work with Kevin Durant. Today, NBA blogger Fernando Martin asked Durant what he thought of Olajuwon’s statement.
As it turns out, the respect between the two superstars is mutual. While Durant is not exactly sure what he could learn from “The Dream,” he has not shut the door on a possible meet up in the future:
“I don’t know,” said Durant. “At this point there’s only one Hakeem Olajuwon. I don’t know how much he can really help me but of course I watched him as a kid and I watch films of him now. I just try to take some stuff out of his game and put it to mine’s, but it’s so hard to try to be like Hakeem Olajuwon. But I’m up for anything. I’m looking forward to learning from anybody, so… We’ll see.”
If the two were to meet up, it would have to be soon. Olajuwon will start working exclusively with the Houston Rockets as a coach at the start of the season.
Mavericks extend training camp invitation to Fab Melo
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks are close to adding yet another big man to the team’s training camp roster:
Hearing: Mavericks are planning to bring recently released young big man Fab Melo to training camp after Melo’s recent release by Memphis
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) September 10, 2013
Melo, who was the 22nd overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Draft, was traded to Memphis in a salary dump last month. He was subsequently released by the Grizzlies just two weeks after they acquired him.
The Mavericks have been trying to add depth to their front line all summer. After failing to land Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, or Greg Oden earlier in the the summer, the team has gone bargain instead. Melo will join Samuel Dalembert and Dejuan Blair in a refurbished Mavericks’ front court.