Luol Deng wasn’t faring too well as a small forward last season in Miami, but when the Heat switched him to power forward in their small-ball lineup following another clotting issue with Chris Bosh, the former Bulls and Cavs wing excelled and helped prompt them to their Conference semifinals appearance in the playoffs. Now, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Deng will join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $72 million deal.
The amount and length of the deal matches that of some of Deng’s peers in free agency this summer, and it seems to match the four-year offer Kent Bazemore turned down on Friday, only to re-sign with the Hawks for $2 million less than the Lakers (and Rockets) were offering over the length of the deal.
Deng, 31, just finished his 12th NBA season, and will be 35 when the deal is set to end. While he hasn’t been a tertiary or secondary offensive option like he was at times in Chicago, he still plays excellent defense, particularly if he’s asked to bang with bigger bodies as a four and do the dirty work of staying with opponent’s best wing player.
Unlike someone like Jeff Green, who will ink a one-year deal with Orlando for $15 million when the NBA’s moratorium period ends on July 1, Deng signed a longer-term deal, giving him financial security even though the salary cap is expected to rise even more next summer.
Similar to his purported Lakers deal, Deng’s former Bulls teammate, Joakim Noah, finalized his four-year agreement with the Knicks last night for the same $72 million figure.