Luol Deng has been set free. According to multiple reports, Deng and the Los Angeles Lakers have reached a buyout agreement on the remainder of his contract.
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers and forward Luol Deng are finalizing a contract buyout as part of waive-and-stretch provision.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 1, 2018
The Lakers signed Deng to a four year, $72 million contract in 2016. The stretch-and-waive allows them to free up more space by paying out the remaining $36.8 million on Deng’s contract over several years. The $18 million he’ll be paid for 2018-2019 is already committed, but since the Lakers chose to do the stretch-and-waive after Aug. 31, they will be able to stretch the remaining $18.8 million Deng is owed over the next three years.
This move has a big impact for Deng. He’s now a free agent, which is great for him since things never quite clicked with the Lakers. But it also has serious implications for the Lakers’ future. The Lakers will pay Deng just $6.27M a year over the next three years, which will give them over $35 million in cap space for the 2019-20 season.
That cap space gives them enough money to go after a big free agent to complement LeBron James, and they’ll definitely find one. Kawhi Leonard will be on the market, and so could Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Any one of those guys could help the Lakers in the future.
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