New Cleveland Cavalier star, Luol Deng, is committed to the 2014 Great Britain (GB) summer programme, subject to free agency, GB Chairman Roger Moreland announced today.
“We’re pleased to say that Lu Deng has said that he will play this summer, subject to free agency being sorted.
“Now obviously, one of the big things for us, as Joe (Prunty) referred to, is it’s a family, we understand those things (Luol Deng’s impending free agency) are important, are very important, and it’s a big year for Lu, so we know how committed Lu is to the GB cause, and I think all of you do here as well.
“He’s made a huge investment over the last few years to the programme, and we’re delighted that he’s able to give us that commitment, subject to the free agency which I know you’ll all be aware of.”
Deng told gbbasketball.com, “I had a really good discussion with British Basketball around Christmas and had some good feedback from the players about how Joe coached last summer.
“I’m really excited about playing with Great Britain again and hope to get my free agency sorted so I can make this happen. I’m eager to get back in that GB jersey and on the road to Rio 2016.”
The “subject to free agency” clause leaves a pretty huge question mark, but if Deng is to suit up, it will be a huge boost for the GB squad, who were short-handed at last year’s Eurobasket in Slovenia.
GB National Teams Director, Warwick Cann, added that Portland Trailblazers’ Joel Freeland “is already on the public record of saying that he’s here (playing for GB in the summer)”, and “anyone with a British passport is on the radar”; confirming that Byron Mullens and Ben Gordon continue to be pursued.
“Byron’s agent has indicated that Byron has a keen desire to play with GB, and I believe that to be so from dialogue,” Cann said.
Details of whom Great Britain will play will in the EuroBasket 2015 Second Qualification Round this summer will be revealed when the draw is made in Barcelona, Spain on 3 February.