By Jason Lloyd
Beacon Journal sports writer
CLEVELAND: As Luol Deng finished dressing in the Cavaliers’ locker room following their sixth consecutive victory — a 101-93 win over the Orlando Magic — he began singing a popular song that was fitting on plenty of levels.
“Oo-ooh child, things are gonna get easier. Ooh-child, things’ll get brighter.”
Things are starting to get a little easier for the Cavs, but they could be changing drastically again for players such as Deng and Jarrett Jack.
All of the attention following Wednesday’s victory centered on what the Cavs will or won’t do ahead of today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. ESPN reported late Wednesday the Cavs are engaged in trade talks with the Sacramento Kings regarding Jack and Jason Thompson.
The Beacon Journal reported Tuesday that the Cavs were looking at Thompson, but ESPN reported they’re only interested in rerouting the remainder of Thompson’s three years and $19 million. Basically, the Cavs are trying to unload the final two guaranteed years and roughly $12 million of Jack’s deal that he signed last summer.
“I didn’t sign here in July to leave in February,” Jack said. “I like the pieces we have in place and I still like them. I think we’re able to do some very, very special things here. The people we have in place already, and as you can see now, we’re playing some damn good basketball.”
Jack had 10 points, six rebounds and six assists in what may have been his final game in a Cavs jersey. Kyrie Irving had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, Tristan Thompson had 16 points and 14 rebounds and Deng had 17 points in what could’ve been his final game as well.
He was just traded for the first time in his career six weeks ago, but he could be on the move again.
“In 10 years, my name has come up a lot. I never fell into rumors or what goes around,” Deng said. “I just have to have the mindset that I’m here, then at the end of the day, whatever happens, I have to deal with that situation.”
Deng said he’d prefer to remain in Cleveland, then acknowledged that’s what everyone says.
“Nobody is going to come out and say I want to be traded,” he said. “That’s not me, anyway. The situation I’m in, I always work out whatever I go through. I’ve never been the guy to come out and say I don’t want to be here.”
The Cavaliers led the entire night and built a 62-41 lead early in the third quarter, but the Magic twice cut it to two, the final time being with 2:07 left and the Cavs ahead 89-87. But Tyler Zeller rebounded a miss on the Cavs’ ensuing possession and converted his own three-point play to extend the lead back to five, then they sealed it on a steal by Jack and 3-pointer from Deng with 36 seconds left to push the lead to 97-89, handing the Magic their 14th consecutive road loss and dropping them to a league-worst 3-25 on the road.
Now they’ll sit back and see who’s left following today’s deadline, although Jack concedes he hasn’t had the type of season he expected in part because of how much Irving plays with the basketball in his hands.
“The way I’ve played in past situations is different here,” he said. “Here, Kyrie is more of an on-ball kind of guy. … With me, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way. Sometimes they’re a lot, sometimes they aren’t. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.