Luol Deng has one of – shoutout Joakim Noah for the last two words – the NBA’s worst contracts. He’s due $36.81 million over the next two seasons, and the Lakers badly want to clear that money to chase star free agents.
They obviously didn’t dump Deng before Thursday’s trade deadline, but did they come close? Lakers president Magic Johnson’s response says everything.
Shahan Ahmed of NBC LA:
Magic Johnson was asked by @billoram if there were any substantive conversations about Luol Deng during the trade deadline, and his initial response is AMAZING! #LakeShow #Lakers pic.twitter.com/IWNU76YGx0
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) February 8, 2018
In a way, Johnson’s laugh seems somewhat cruel to Deng, a real person behind that contract. But Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka eventually gave more earnest answers.
Besides, Deng already won. Look at those paychecks!
The Lakers’ efforts to unload him will continue. The stretch provision or a trade (with a sweetener) are possible this summer. A trade now would have required MASSIVE sweeteners – far more than the Lakers or any reasonable team would pay, which is why Johnson laughed.