Lakers Submit Request To Remove Deng’s Salary From Cap

The Lakers have submitted a request to the NBA in an attempt to remove Luol Deng‘s remaining cap hits from their team salary for the next two seasons, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Deng agreed to a buyout with the Lakers before the start of the 2018/19 season. The team stretched his remaining salary across multiple seasons at that point and is still on the hook for cap charges worth $5MM apiece in 2020/21 and ’21/22.

If a player suffers a career-ending injury or illness, the NBA will typically permit his team to remove his remaining salary from its cap after he has been waived, though the player still receives that salary. Chris Bosh, Nikola Pekovic, Mirza Teletovic, Omer Asik, and Timofey Mozgov are some of the players whose cap hits have been removed from teams’ books in recent years due to career-ending ailments.

It’s not at all certain that the Lakers will receive any cap relief for Deng, however. Following his buyout in 2018, the veteran forward signed with Minnesota and played 22 games for the Timberwolves during the ’18/19 season before retiring last fall. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Deng didn’t suffer an injury during his Lakers stint that eventually ended his career, but it will be difficult to prove that, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

If the Lakers’ request is granted, it would give the franchise some added flexibility during the next two offseasons for roster moves. An extra $5MM of wiggle room could make it more viable for the team to retain players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo while still using its mid-level exception, as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report points out (via Twitter).

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39 thoughts on “Lakers Submit Request To Remove Deng’s Salary From Cap

  1. Lakers1

    He did retire in 2019.. that’s probably what they are hoping is the thing that gets this approved..

  2. mcmillankmm

    Might as well remove all dead cap if you’re going to do it for the Lakers

      • GoLandCrabs

        Here he goes again. Take off the tin foil hat. Harden and Westbrick just choke every postseason.

      • Lakers1

        The NBA has given something to take care of harden.. you know his 4-6 step step back 3 or is hook his right arm around defender to initiate contact when he drives to lane..

        • deano

          I want to know when that whole step back thing became a thing. I’ve always thought that was the weirdest thing. Or when they drive and take 2 steps and then pass the ball! That’s a travel unless you shoot.

  3. No case. He played with Min after whatever injury he had with the Lakers. If this is permitted, then any team can get off a contract by asking a guy to retire with full pay. Everyone had an injury at some point in their career and anyone can find a doctor to say that a retiring player did so because of that injury – several years removed.

    • Lakers1

      Mosgov has his contract removed for career ending injury.. he is currently playing in Russia basketball league

      • Luke Adams

        Mozgov did sign with Khimki in 2019 after being waived by the Magic, but he hasn’t actually played a game for them since then because of his health issues.

      • OK. Still, if playing (at least in the NBA) within the original contract period doesn’t nix the medical retirement argument, then nothing meaningful does nix it. Might be a better rule if cutting a guy with a serious injury (certified career threatening/ changing and missing a certain number of games) can take him off the cap. But it hasn’t been the rule. The rule has been career ending. Maybe that means NBA career. I believe there is a look back even for nominal playing. SEE Darius Miles.

        • Mr Smith

          The rule is that he cannot go on to play more than 25 games, which he did not.

          • Luke Adams

            The 25-game rule applies if a player’s cap hit has been wiped off a team’s books, then he returns from his supposedly “career-ending” injury. Once he plays in his 25th game for a new team, his cap hit would be re-applied to his old team’s salary.

            The fact that Deng didn’t play 25+ games for Minnesota opens the door for the Lakers to apply for cap relief, but it doesn’t really mean anything beyond that. They’ll still have to prove he had a career-threatening injury when they waived him (and no such injury was publicly reported at the time).

            • Do you know if the language “career threatening” injury or “career ending” injury? My understanding is its career ending.

              I also thought the 25 game rule was only about reinstating the salary (after it comes off the books after being released with what was determined, by medical people, to be a career ending injury). Not the inverse; when a guy plays less than 25 games after that release, its not somehow evidence of the seriousness of the injury. The latter is a medical decision determined at the time of the release. The reinstatement is about the doctors being wrong. It’s not, well, in retrospect, that injury turned out to be career ending. I still think they have little to no chance at this, under the rules that applied to other teams.

              • Luke Adams

                Your interpretation of the 25-game rule is correct. As for the specific language in the CBA, “career-ending” is used, but there’s a little wiggle room for interpretation:

                “A player shall be deemed to have suffered a career-ending injury or illness if it is determined (i) by a such physician or Fitness to Play Panel that the player has an injury or illness that (x) prevents him from playing skilled professional basketball at an NBA level for the duration of his career, or (y) substantially impairs his ability to play skilled professional basketball at an NBA level and is of such severity that continuing to play professional basketball at an NBA level would subject the player to medically unacceptable risk of suffering a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness, or (ii) by such Fitness to Play Panel that the player has an injury or illness that would create a materially elevated risk of death for the player under the procedures set forth in Article XXII, Section 11.”

  4. Yep it is

    The NBA will do anything the Lakers want. They just want them relevant. Sickening to see BRON BRON cry all the time to the officials and then Suddenly it turns his way. Been this way since Shaq and Kobe and the Kings got shafted.

    • Chief Two Hands

      Like blocking a legitimate trade for Chris Paul because Cuban and Gilbert cried too much?

      • Lakers1

        Yes the trade that was gonna net New Orleans picks and F Lamar Odom SG Kevin Martin PF Luis Scola PG Goran Dragic but the clippers side per David stern of Eric Gordon,Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu. Hornets lakers trade was a much better trade than clippers hornets trade. Not even close..

        • Lakers1

          Would’ve been paul, Howard and Kobe as the big 3.. but once nixed, lakers got nash and set them back for years

        • Chief Two Hands

          It was nothing more than a commissioner folding under pressure from owners

      • The trade wasn’t blocked, nor was it ever a legitimate trade. Stern wasn’t acting as commissioner when he didn’t approve it (because commissioners don’t approve or disapprove trades), but as the Hornets’ governor (designated owner representative) as the league owned the team.

        Stern, like any governor, he needed to approve a major trade before it even goes to the league office for compliance sign off. He didn’t, and wisely so. Laker package was pathetic for the Hornets as a rebuilding team. I had more issues with Stern than I can count, but here he did the right thing by other owners (who jointly owned the Hornets) by preserving the Hornets franchise value.

        • Lakers1

          at time of trade, Dragic was 24 and Scola was 31… Kevin Martin was 28, Odom was 31.. Gordon and aminu don’t equal dragic let alone all 4.. you are high if you think clippers trade was better

          • LOL. High must = understanding NBA player value. You forgot the most valuable asset in the deal. Minnesota’s unprotected 1st (coming off a year they picked 2nd, 4th the year before). Of course, Gordon (still on RSC, ie, controllable, coming off 22 ppg year) alone was MUCH more valuable that a Dragic (a backup, acquired by Hou WITH a 1st rounder for A.Brooks, with 1 contract year left) and Odom was washed up (even Dallas only paid a highly protected first to get him). FOR A REBUILDING TEAM. Although it’s irrelevant here, as these packages are night and day for any team.

          • x%sure

            Well since Dell Demps is so brilliant.

            It will take more than a retirement to get approval.
            A removal should not even be allowed, just a limit. I hope it’s gone in the next CBA.

          • Meaning it wasn’t agreed to formally. That can’t happen until the Team’s owner (or the like approves it). In this case, that’s Stern. You don’t hear about half the deals that GMs agree to, because they’re not submitted to the league office. Rumor really.

  5. The Human Rain Delay

    Highly doubt its possible but is he allowed to be traded Luke (His salary)

    Like a Kuzma for 3.5 and Dengs 5 for Derrick Roses 7.5 for instance? I know baseball allows for certain things like this but its way different…

    • Luke Adams

      Nope, as soon as Deng was waived it became “dead” money, so they can’t do anything with it in a trade.

  6. The Howler

    LAL $4.5 mil over cap currently…be nice to cut $5 mil of salary without losing a player.

  7. The Howler

    Found this article back before we knew what COVID was by someone named Luke Adams.

    link to

    Due to poor management, MIL has $8mil in dead cap money. They need to pay the tax and sign a decent SG who can score (Bogdan, Harris).

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