Lakers coach Luke Walton says Luol Deng won’t be ‘in the rotation’
The third highest-paid player on the Los Angeles Lakers is no longer in the team’s rotation. Apparently, head coach Luke Walton won’t be using veteran forward Luol Deng unless he has to this season.
Walton said the following about his plans for Deng moving forward, via Bill Oram of the OC Register.
“As of now he’s not in the rotation as far as consistently penciled in without something happening,” Walton said.
It seems inevitable at this point that the Lakers will take any opportunity to part ways with Deng as he’s simply a player that doesn’t fit the system while being paid a premium to take up a roster spot.
Walton and company have informed Deng about his role and to stay ready in case they need to call upon him at some point, via Oram.
“We’ve talked,” Walton said. “It’s 82 games. There’s a lot that’s going to change, but for right now we’ve asked him to stay sharp, to keep working to stay ready for when he gets called on and continue mentoring our young players.”
If it weren’t for the additions of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($17.7 million) and Brook Lopez ($22.6), Deng’s salary would lead the way for the Lakers this season at $17.1 million. A veteran player that has lost a step while being paid an enormous amount to be inactive. An awkward position for the seasoned veteran, especially considering he’s under contract for two more years with his annual salary only increasing.
Deng is under contract with the Lakers for the next two seasons after the 2017-18 campaign without any options in his deal. The two-time All-Star forward will make $18 million next season and $18.8 for the season after that.