As they evaluate the team and look to make a deal to help secure a playoff berth, Cleveland Cavaliers officials are making recently acquired Luol Deng available ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, multiple league sources told ESPN.com.
The Cavs traded three future draft picks and Andrew Bynum to the Chicago Bulls to acquire Deng on Jan. 7. But the deal hasn't worked out as hoped.
Cleveland isn't determined to trade Deng, but with his impending free agency a concern, acting general manager David Griffin is testing the market for the veteran forward.
Getting value for Deng may be a challenge because his contract expires in June. He cannot be packaged with another Cavs player in a deal due to trade rules, though trades can be structured to get around this issue if teams are motivated enough.
Moving to a younger team and changing cities for the first time, Deng hasn't always felt comfortable with his new teammates and coaches in Cleveland, and his play has suffered. He is averaging 14.6 points on 41 percent shooting in 18 games, a slip from his numbers in Chicago, where he was a primary offensive option.
Sources say the Cavs are concerned about being able to re-sign Deng this offseason, as he'll be an unrestricted free agent for the first time. Several teams with cap space, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, are expected to be interested in Deng.
After struggling in the weeks after acquiring Deng and then firing GM Chris Grant, the Cavs (21-33) have won their past five games and are three games out of the final East playoff spot, currently held by the Charlotte Bobcats. Even still, league executives say Griffin is being aggressive in attempting to make a trade to help the Cavs upgrade their talent.
Cleveland has several other players with expiring contracts or deals that aren't guaranteed for 2014-15, including Alonzo Gee and Earl Clark, who may be involved in deals this week.