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Lakers outbid the Wizards for Luol Deng by $20M

luol deng

A young Los Angeles Lakers core was in dire need of veteran leadership this offseason after the hiring of new head coach Luke Walton, making investment into proven veterans a priority prior to the 2016-17 season.

The front office spent a pretty penny for 30-year-old center Timofey Mozgov, signing him to a four-year, $64 million contract. This was somewhat forgivable given the scarcity of available big men, the fact that they were signing a starter, and the rising salary cap that allowed for bigger contracts.

What really raised eyebrows was the signing of forward Luol Deng to a four-year, $72 million contract, beating a prior offer by the Washington Wizards by a whopping $20 million.

The Wizards were nearing a three-year, $52 million deal with the veteran free agent prior to the Lakers bid, a development that “stunned” the Wizards, sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

Deng’s performance this season hardly merits his contract, as he’s averaging a feeble eight points and 5.4 rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game.

In hindsight, the Wizards are glad to dodge the bullet as Deng’s performance has not only dipped offensively but defensively as well.

Los Angeles has overachieved thanks to great performances from their youth, but it won’t take too long for them to feel their mistake in the books when it comes time to attract free agents to sign the next few offseasons.

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