Today’s buyout agreement with Luol Deng will provide financial benefits for the Lakers over the next two seasons. Deng agreed to forgo $7.5MM of the $36.8MM left on his contract, with 48.9% of that coming from his 2018/19 salary and the other 51.1% from his 2019/20 figure, tweets salary cap expert Larry Coon.
The reduction will drop L.A.’s commitment to Deng for the upcoming season from $18MM to about $14.3MM, adds cap expert Albert Nahmad (Twitter link). The Lakers were projected to be $4.6MM above the cap before the buyout, so the extra $3.7MM won’t allow them to sign anyone, but it gives them an easier path if they decide to operate below the cap at some point during the season.
L.A. will stretch the final season of Deng’s contract over three years, which works out to a $4.99MM cap hit annually from 2019/20 through 2021/22, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. He notes that the figure would have been closer to $6.3MM a year if the Lakers had stretched Deng’s contract without the buyout. The team projects to have $36.97M in cap space next summer, enough to offer a maximum contract, according to Coon (Twitter link).
There’s more Deng-related news to pass along:
- Deng was frustrated about being benched for virtually all of last season and had no desire to go through that experience again, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Deng played 13 minutes on opening night and wasn’t used again for the rest of the season, despite being fully healthy. Comments from Lakers officials at the end of last season indicated they were willing to keep Deng on the roster, which is what motivated him to accept the buyout, Ganguli adds (Twitter link).
- Lakers GM Rob Pelinka issued a statement of gratitude after Deng’s release became official this afternoon, relays Chris Haynes of ESPN. “We want to thank Luol for his time with the Lakers,” Pelinka said. “We made this move to further our future salary cap and roster flexibility, as we continue to build this Lakers team according to our current overall vision.”
- The Lakers don’t have any immediate plans for filling Deng’s roster spot, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link). L.A. currently has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, along with non-guaranteed minimum deals for Jonathan Williams, Jeffrey Carroll and Joel Berry
- The Timberwolves will be among the teams interested in Deng once he clears waivers, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau has already gathered several of his former Bulls players in Minnesota.