I hate the situation but I'm not sure Deng has EVER done anything for anyone to hate him. Epitome of Professionalism and a good role model for young players coming into the NBA.
If Deng's contract was more like Brewer's (~7M), most wouldn't have a problem with him. His contract isn't his fault. He didn't make Jim and Mitch pay him much more that he was worth.
I remember people here ADVOCATING overpaying role players that summer. They claimed that contract would be a BARGAIN once the NBA salary cap ballooned again the next year. Didn't happen and people like me that was saying it was stupid then understand how and why it happened. People who advocated for those stupid contracts are not acknowledging how bad this decision was.
I think part of the issue, too, was that team's were signing players they didn't really even need, and/or weren't certain performers.
The Deng deal made a little bit of sense, given the market at that time (clearly an over-payment, but maybe not so bad had he performed), but the Mozgov deal was ridiculous. He wasn't good. And we paid him a boatload of money, eating up cap space that we could have rolled forward, to do be nothing more than a big stiff (because that's what he's always been).
There's no palpable evidence that there was this kind of market for either of these guys, especially Mozgov, irrespective of the salary cap explosion.
And it's worth noting, we have now traded 2 of the 3 guys we signed to long-term deals that off-season (Mozgov & Clarkson)