With many expiring contracts this year, the Lakers were seen as darkhorses to make a splash in the trade market. It didn’t take long for rumblings to start, this time with a big name player.
With Derrick Rose going down with an injury, many expect the Bulls to throw in the towel on the season and set themselves up with a lottery pick in the loaded 2014 draft class. Along with that, the likes of a player like Luol Deng, who has an expiring contract, could be dealt to a team for either more expiring contracts, young assets, or both.
Enter Los Angeles.
Rumors began swirling around the league that the Nets, Kings, and Lakers have shown interest in the 28-year old wing man. With a $14 million contract, however, the Lakers would have to include a big package to make the deal work, with the most likely candidate being Pau Gasol. The Lakers would also likely have to take on one of the Bulls bigger contracts to entice them into a possible deal, while also including another expiring contract. A deal involving Deng and Taj Gibson for Pau Gasol and Steve Blake certainly works on paper, but would the Bulls be interested?
Also, would the Lakers be interested in a half-year rental of Deng? There’s no guarantee that he resigns with L.A., as we saw with our most latest pre-free agency rental last year. Are Lakers fans ready for another possible one-and-done scenario? Most memorably, Kobe Bryant vetoed a trade that would have sent him to Chicago in 2007 because the deal included Deng, someone Bryant wanted to share the court with. Does Deng feel the same about Bryant and the Lakers, many years later?