Rumors: Luol Deng to Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves are rumoured to be negotiating a deal to sign former All-Star forward Luol Deng.
Per NBA.com, the news comes via The New York Times’ Marc Stein and Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Luol Deng, a 14-year NBA veteran, was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers last week. Earlier this week he officially became a free agent, and will reportedly meet with Timberwolves officials, according to The Athletic.
Luol Deng was waived by the Lakers two years after he signed a four year contract extension worth $72 million.
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Waiving Deng will also free up a lot of cap space for Los Angeles. He was their highest paid player last season, although he barely featured. He only played one game, scoring 2 points in 13 minutes.
After appearing in their season opener, Deng dropped out of rotation and spent more and more time away from the team. In 2016 – 2017, he appeared in 56 games, of which 49 were starts. He averaged 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 26.5 minutes per game.
Deng is best known for his spell with the Chicago Bulls between 2004 – 2014, in which he starred. Pertinently, he played under Tom Thibodeau, the current Minnesota Timberwolves coach.
A reunion could be appealing for Deng, who felt that he didn’t fit into the Lakers’ style of play. He felt he didn’t work within the team’s high-tempo style. So much so that he declined to rejoin the rotation when the team went through an injury crisis last year.
By waiving Deng, the Lakers can sign another superstar to play alongside LeBron James next year. The $12 million they save will allow them to pay for another maximum contract.