London Olympian Deng signs for Miami Heat

16 July 2014 / 14:52

Miami Heat president Pat Riley has expressed his delight after bringing London Olympian Luol Deng in as a free agent.

Forward Deng, who featured for Team GB at London 2012, has spent ten years in the NBA and joins the Heat after spells at the Chicago Bulls and recently the Cleveland Cavaliers.

And while he has big shoes to fill with LeBron James leaving to rejoin the Cavaliers, Riley is over the moon with the capture of the 29-year-old.

"Luol Deng is one of the most important free agent signings that we have ever had in the history of the franchise," Riley said on the franchise's official website.

"He is a proven All-Star and quintessential team player, both as a scorer, as well as an All-NBA defender.

“He brings the attitude of a warrior and competes every single night against the very, very best. We are thrilled to welcome him to the Heat family."

Deng is missing from Great Britain's squad for this weekend's friendlies against Latvia, but British Basketball remain hopeful the NBA star could figure in this summer's EuroBasket qualifiers.

Deng was absent from a 17-man group named by coach Joe Prunty, meaning none of the NBA players included in the provisional 22-man group last month have made the final list.

But while Joel Freeland and Byron Mullens have been ruled out for the summer, talks are continuing with Deng after his new two-year deal with the Miami Heat was confirmed.

Freeland has chosen to focus on playing for the Portland Trail Blazers summer league team, while Mullens, a free agent after leaving the Philadelphia 76ers, is seeking a new employer.

Ovie Soko is also unavailable while Justin Robinson and James Jones have been forced to withdraw through injury, with Devan Bailey, Conner Washington and Orlan Jackman taking their places.

Prunty said of his selection: "Players' professional commitments and injuries have impacted our squad. It has also limited our opportunity to see some new talent in 2014.

"However, we have the core of last year's successful 2013 team in place. We're excited and ready to take on this challenge. It's an important year and we are committed to qualifying for EuroBasket 2015."

© Sportsbeat 2014