Report: Luol Deng Agrees to Contract with Los Angeles Lakers

According to reports, unrestricted free agent forward Luol Deng has agreed to a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, which will pay him $72 million over four years. The contract cannot officially be signed until the end of the NBA’s moratorium period on July 7th.

Shams Charania of The Vertical broke the news on Saturday morning:

Report: Luol Deng Agrees to Contract with Los Angeles Lakers

Deng’s contract will take him through the end of the 2019-20 season. 

Deng averaged 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game last season for the Miami Heat. His scoring has declined every season since the 2012-13 campaign. Many would argue that this decline is at least partially due to Deng’s former coach, Tom Thibodeau, overworking him. There’s some legitimacy to that, as Deng led the league in minutes in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. In 2013, Deng suffered a spinal tap injury that put his life in danger, and he has never been quite the same player since then.

Looking forward, Deng will be a solid two-way player, capable of scoring and defending at either wing position for Los Angles. He can also play power forward in smaller lineups, which are being used more and more in the modern NBA. Deng’s defense isn’t as great as it once was, but he’s still above average on that end, at 31 years old. The Lakers will need Deng to provide a strong locker room presence as one of their veteran leaders next year. If Deng is able to step into his role and mesh with his new Lakers teammates, Los Angeles may be able to contend for a playoff spot in the 2016-17 season.

Deng is going into his 13th season in the league. He played his first nine seasons for the Chicago Bulls before they traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers partway through the 2013-14 season. After just 40 games in Cleveland, Deng signed with the Heat as a free agent in the 2014 off-season. He’s spent the past two seasons in Miami. Deng was originally drafted seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2004, but he was sent to Chicago shortly afterward.

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