The Lakers should have never gambled on Luol Deng
It took six years for the Lakers to get rid of the worst contract in franchise history. Luol Deng was officially on the Lakers’ books all the way to the start of the 2022 offseason, when the team was finally able to wipe it clean.
The NBA salary cap took an unprecedented jump in the 2016 offseason and instead of landing a superstar, the Lakers signed several players to expensive contracts. One of those players was Deng, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract.
Compared to today’s numbers that does not look like a debilitating contract but at the time it was a huge cap hit on the books. Making matters worse was the fact that Deng was already over the hill when he signed and he regressed quickly after the fact.
It did not take long for the Lakers to realize the mistake in their ways and the new front office, spearheaded by Pelinka and Magic Johnson, were trying to find any way to get Deng off the books for the future of the team.
The answer was ultimately to waive Deng and stretch his cap hit to multiple seasons, hence why the team was technically still paying him during the 2021-22 season. The worst part of all this? Deng was one of just two horrible gambles that offseason.