Report: Lakers executive believes Luol Deng “may never play again”

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat
Dec 22, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng (9) looks on during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have overhauled their roster over the past two seasons. With a focus on the 2018 offseason, the team traded many veterans and big-salary players to accumulate cap space and assets.

Through all that overhaul, however, one player has remained. Luol Deng, who was given a four-year, $72 million deal in 2016, is one of the team’s longest tenured players. For now that doesn’t appear to be changing as the Lakers will hold on to his contract at least one more year unless they can find a trade.

But with Deng taking up a roster spot, is it possible that he will get playing time on the new look Lakers? Evidently not according to an anonymous Lakers executive.

Following via Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus:

Could Luol Deng be a stopgap as a small center after sitting out most of last season?

The executive said Deng is all but semi-retired. He may never play again in the NBA unless he has a change of heart.

Deng played in the season opener last year but did not appear in any more matches for the rest of the year. The forward has played in 57 games in two seasons in Los Angeles.

The Lakers will have to make a decision on Deng next summer, in all likelihood. They could trade his contract which would require sending assets to the team taking the deal. They could also stretch his salary over three seasons (if they do it next summer) cutting his 2019-20 cap hit from 18 million to six million.

For now, Deng will seemingly continue racking up DNP-CD’s until a resolution can be found.

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