Weekly Mailbag: 12/4/17 – 12/10/17

We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com.

Do you think the Lakers could trade Luol Deng before the deadline? Or what do you think they can get if they trade Julius Randle? — Ralph Lakers, via Twitter

Other than making him very wealthy, the Lakers didn’t do Deng any favors when they signed him to a four-year, $72MM contract in 2016. L.A. gave up on Deng midway through last season and he has only gotten into one game this year, so he has become a forgotten man other than his drain on the team’s cap. His contract is such a liability that it he would be hard to trade even if he were still productive. After making $17.19MM this season, he is owed $18MM next year and $18.81MM in 2019/20. If the Lakers can find a team willing to absorb all that salary, they’ll have to throw in a lot of sweeteners in terms of draft picks and maybe young players to get the deal done. It’s more realistic to expect the organization to use the stretch provision after this season and spread that remaining money over five years. Cap room is the number one goal in L.A., so any Randle deal will bring back expiring contracts and maybe future draft picks, but nothing that’s going to affect the team’s ability to offer two maximum contracts next summer.

Should the Thunder target a guy like Lou Williams? Generating offense has been a problem for this team, so maybe adding a spark off the bench could help. — Duhhkari Sanchez, via Twitter

This would be contingent on the Clippers deciding to break up their team. As bad as things have gone during a 10-15 start, they are only two-and-a-half games out of a playoff spot, so decisions on Williams, DeAndre Jordan and others are still a few weeks off. If Williams is available, he would be an excellent pickup for Oklahoma City. A finalist for the Sixth Man award last season, he specializes in bringing instant offense off the bench and would take some of the scoring load off Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Williams is in the middle of his best season at age 31, averaging a career-high 19.7 points through 24 games. The Lakers traded him to Houston at last year’s deadline for a first-round pick, and the Clippers would probably seek the same price.

What are the odds Marc Gasol gets the trade he’s looking for, and if he does, what are the odds it’s to a winning franchise? — Danny, via Twitter

Gasol will turn 33 next month, so it doesn’t make sense for anyone but contenders to pursue him. The issue is whether the Grizzlies should keep him any longer or trade him and start a youth movement. Gasol will make $24,119,025 next season and has a player option worth $25,595,700 for 2019/20. If he stays on the roster with Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons, Memphis won’t have any cap flexibility for the next two seasons. Chris Mannix of the Vertical reported last month that teams have called about Gasol, but the Grizzlies have turned them all down. Much like the Clippers, they are off to a bad start but aren’t completely out of contention at 8-18. If the losing continues, Memphis may have to take a hard look at its financial situation and resign itself to a Gasol trade by February.

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