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The Los Angeles Lakers’ plans for the summer of 2018 have been made clear and have been laid out for quite some time. While their pursuit of max free agents could be seen as questionable, it’s the path the front office has committed to going forward.
A big hurdle in that path, though, is Luol Deng. The veteran perimeter player, or more specifically his contract, is one of the few remaining hurdles in the Lakers’ path to having room for a pair of max free agents. With $17.1 million due this year and $36.8 million due the next two years, finding a willing team to take on the contract will be difficult.
This season, the Lakers have done themselves no favors as they’ve not used Deng at all in the regular season and did so sparingly in the preseason. Reports have come out that the team has removed him from the rotation entirely early in the year, which is clear based on the playing time, or lack thereof, he’s received.
However, it appears the Lakers have also moved even further along and are looking at a potential “solution” for Deng and, more specifically, a trade.
Deng said he and his agent, Jeff Austin from Octagon sports, have been working with the Lakers to find a resolution to the situation — either via trade or buyout — but he understands it may take weeks, months or even years to settle as he has two years and $26 million remaining on his contract after this year.
A Lakers source confirmed that the team has met with Deng’s representatives to find a solution — via trade or buyout — that would allow him the opportunity to play more.
As Shelburne noted, this is a problem that likely won’t have a solution in the coming weeks, but it’s one that will need a solution by July.