Croydon schooled Great Britain basketball star Luol Deng has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers from the Chicago Bulls.
Deng, 28, who attended St Mary’s Catholic High School in Croydon, was the Bulls longest serving player having played in Chicago for nine seasons in America’s National Basketball Association.
The Sudan-born star, whose contract was due to run out in the summer, was rumoured to have been offered a new contract by the Bulls last week which did not match his agent’s expectations.
Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, Chris Grant, said: “We are very excited for Luol to join the Cavaliers organisation… Luol reflects all that we are striving for in building our team.”
Deng has been voted into the NBA’s prestigious All-Star game for the last two seasons, and has every chance of making his third successive appearance in February.
Grant continued: “He’s a tremendous defensive player that can impact the game on both ends of the court with a team-first mentality and is a high-character leader.”
Deng has been instrumental in securing the future of British basketball, it was only his letter to David Cameron that caused the government to reconsider their decision to cut Team GB basketball funding following London 2012 and eventually grant £7 million in March 2013.
The Bulls had started the season with high hopes but a season-ending knee injury to the Bulls best player, Derrick Rose, ended their title aspirations. Since the moment Rose was ruled out their had been speculation over Deng’s future.
His new club, the Cavaliers, are not realistic title contenders at the moment, but the addition of Deng to a talented young roster could see them qualify for the play-offs in April and become a force in the future.