At some point the comparisons will stop but, for now, there’s no denying that Luol Deng will play in the shadow of LeBron James.
That doesn’t seem to impact Deng’s enthusiasm for the upcoming season nor will it impact his approach to the game. He officially signed with the Heat on June 15. Just a few days later, his new Heat jersey became available for purchase both online and at the Heat Store located in Miami.
Deng dropped by the shop (located at the AmericanAirlines Arena) and spoke to Heat TV about the opportunity to join a team that has been to the NBA Finals for four consecutive years:
“It’s exciting, man. I’m really looking forward to it…I’ve always played one way and that’s not about to change. I go out there and play hard. I’ve done that my whole life and I’ll continue to do that.”
On this next chapter of Heat basketball, Deng added:
“It’s a new chapter for all of us. These guys, the last four years, have been so successful and I want to keep it that way. This is definitely a different look but I’m excited to be a part of it and kind of develop my own identity.”
Deng added that he’s looking forward to playing alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, with whom he will form the core of next season’s team. This squad will blend Heat veterans (like Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem) along with new additions like Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger and Shabazz Napier.
If Deng contributes as expected, the Heat should be an athletic, defensive-minded team. And, with enough time – and wins – the shadow will grow less and less visible for Heat fans.
You can see the whole interview here.