Cleveland Cavaliers' Luol Deng, right, drives against Toronto Raptors' Steve Novak during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 25, 2014, in Cleveland. Cleveland defeated Toronto 102-100.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — It’s hard to know if Luol Deng will play for the Cavaliers again, but one thing is for certain: It won’t be this season.
Deng is suffering from a sore lower back and will miss the finale Wednesday vs. the Nets, coach Mike Brown said Monday. The injury caused Deng to miss the previous two games as well.
Deng, 28, will be an unrestricted free agent in July, meaning he is free to sign with any team without the Cavs possessing the option to match. The Cavs are expected to make an offer, but after years of success, Deng may prefer to move on. The Lakers and Suns are among those interested, league sources say.
Deng spent the first nine years of his career with the Bulls, but was acquired by the Cavs in a January trade involving the contract of center Andrew Bynum. Deng has been the Cavs’ starting small forward ever since.
However, his run with the Cavs has been anything but steady. After averaging a career-high 19.0 points on 45 percent shooting in 23 games with the playoff-bound Bulls this season, he dipped to 14.3 points and 42 percent in 40 games with the Cavs.