Latest On Luol Deng

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.
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9 thoughts on “Latest On Luol Deng

  1. Trog

    Why wouldn’t the players union fight Deng voluntarily giving up guaranteed money? It seems like in other buyouts, when players are forfeiting money, it’s because it’s being made up in a new salary with a different team.

    • TJECK109

      Teams aren’t required to give a buyout at all. Deng could have sat the bench and never seen a minute of action. Giving up 7+ mil for a chance to actually go and play somewhere might have been more enticing

    • who says his agent doesn’t have a good idea that he can sign with a particular team that interests him?

    • Decius

      Sometimes we forget that these guys probably want to be able to look back and feel good about their career. While money is very, very important, I don’t think anybody wants to be remembered primarily for riding the bench while collecting a huge check.

    • Chun

      Fight! For what! He got36 million for doing nothing! For all that money he could’ve hired a personal trainer get in shape and maybe Earn some playing time!! See ya deng!!!

      • bravesfan88

        It didn’t matter what Deng did, for whatever reason, he wasn’t going to get a chance to play in L.A.

        Since LeBron is such a “player’s advocate” I thought he might be able to convince the staff and management to give Deng some playing time, but apparently not.

        Deng still has some solid minutes left in his tank. Now, I understand, the Lakers wanoting to give more PT for younger players last season, but why NEVER play him?!? And, since they’re are going to be playing the likes of McGee, Lance, etc. among others, why not play a solid corner 3&D guy like Deng…

        It’s an absolute shame, what the Lakers have done to Deng the past year plus. Although, maybe the year off might help Deng’s knees.

        Most likely he’s going to end up in Minnesota, but he’d be a solid option for the Rockets, Pelicans, or Trailblazers…

  2. cesc

    Don’t worry for Deng, Trog, he still takes home 30MM & is gonna sign for another team, that’s for sure.

  3. AGAVE

    Don’t think the Union wishes to punish a team for their mistake.
    The player made himself available every game day; and probably more.
    Sometimes you gotta look past things

  4. JD396

    “We want to thank Luol for everything he did last year, from setting up the sandwich spreads in the clubhouse before the game, to helping convert the court to a hockey rink after the game.”

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