NBA Denies Lakers’ Request To Clear Deng’s Salary From Cap

The NBA has denied the Lakers‘ request to remove Luol Deng‘s dead money from their salary cap, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). As a result, Deng’s $5MM cap hits will remain on the team’s books this season and in 2021/22.

The Lakers requested last month to have Deng’s salary remove from their cap. The Collective Bargaining Agreement allows teams to remove cap charges for a waived player who hasn’t played in the NBA for at least one year if an independent doctor determines that the player sustained a career-ending injury during his time with the team.

However, that was always going to be a difficult case for the Lakers to make. Deng announced his retirement in the fall of 2019 after being let go by L.A. a year earlier, but his 2018 buyout with the team was reported at the time as a cap-related move, with no career-ending injury mentioned.

The veteran forward subsequently signed with Minnesota and played 22 games for the Timberwolves during the ’18/19 season before retiring.

The Lakers likely recognized it was a long shot to have Deng’s salary excluded from their cap, but figured it was worth a try. The team is right up against a hard cap this season and could’ve benefited from an extra $5MM of flexibility in the summer of 2021 as well.

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