The Los Angeles Lakers and Luol Deng agreed to a buyout, ending an era in Los Angeles.
Breaking news for the Los Angeles Lakers! There is a party going on at Magic Johnson‘s house! Okay, that’s not true, but believe me the Los Angeles Lakers must feel like dancing after waiving Luol Deng (Like FINALLY!) two years after Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss played Publishers Clearing House, handing him a four-year, $72 million dollar contract.
The details of the buyout is that Luol Deng gave back a reported $7.5 million dollars, which clears a whopping $38 million dollars for the upcoming 2019 free agency according to ESPN.
The move was made on the first day of eligibility of when the final year of Deng’s contract could be stretched in the NBA’ s stretch provision policy. Now Deng’s final season will be stretched over a three-season span of the cap limit.
Here’s the team statement courtesy of NBA.com.
"“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,” Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka said."
This is the end of two eras here Lake Show Lifers. Luol Deng’s exit is obvious, but the end of the Mitch Kupchak/Jim Buss era. This move now solidifies that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka can officially start and build the team in the way they see fit without the restraints of the awful decisions of the past regime.
The Lakers sure did not get a lot back from their investment. Okay, they didn’t get anything back from their investment. Deng appeared in 56 games during his first year with the Lakers, averaging career lows almost across the board. The second year he played less time than it took me to write this article and for you to read it (For the record…13 minutes!)
Furthermore, Luol Deng was the highest paid player on the team but reportedly was in exile at times, not being a part of the team. He played in the first game. Dropped out of the rotation and collected DNP-CDs ever since.
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Let’s be clear here. Deng is a 14-year veteran that just did not fit in Luke Walton‘s up-tempo style of play. Place that next to the fact that he couldn’t defend anyone without “Carlos Boozer” type help (Remember Him?), the Lakers couldn’t use him.
The peculiar thing about this situation seeing according to NBA.com that Deng reportedly declined to rejoin the rotation when the Lakers called on him when injuries crept up.
Man Luol! Really?! That’s really a different light of what the L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke profiled in an article about your professionalism.
"“Deng watches the game on Television and imitates its flow. When there’s action, he runs on a treadmill. When there’s a timeout, he stops. When the whistle blows, he runs again. When the Lakers are playing defense, he slides his feet as if playing imaginary defense.”"
Wow! Looks like imaginary professionalism too.
Now the fun and the rumors really are going to kick in. More cap space and a roster spot. Now every remaining free agent (writer’s request…JAMAL CRAWFORD!) will be linked to the Lakers in the next coming weeks to fill Luol Deng’s roster spot.
Lake Show Lifers, the buyout amount shows how bad this relationship could have gotten over the season. The Lakers could have easily thrown him in a broom closet for another 82 games and the playoffs and waited to waive him then. It shows that Deng really wants to continue his career elsewhere.
According to ESPN, with the buyout amount that Luol Deng gave back, the stretch provision will impact the Lakers salary cap at $4.99 million dollars a year from 2019-2020 to 2021-2022. If the Lakers wait another year, it would have been approximately $6 million.
This is history folks, you have basically watched Earvin Johnson live up to his nickname…
As of today, he and Rob Pelinka has made all of the mistakes of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss disappear.
Finally, Luol Deng did too.