LOOK: Is that Luol Deng’s photo on center of Lakers’ draft room table?
The Los Angeles Lakers are set to head into the 2018 NBA draft strapped with three selections in hopes to add more young talent to the mix.
In a tweeted photo of the draft war room from Lakers international scout Can Pelister there is a laid on the table two packets with what looked like veteran forward Luol Deng’s profile on the top page.
— Can Pelister (@canpelister) June 21, 2018
While the photo is a bit unclear, it is appears as if Deng is in the photo and the first name on the page looks pretty close to the name “Deng” as well. This has reasonably led to the speculation that the team is looking to move on from the final two years of Deng’s four-year, $72 million contract that he’s owed $36.8 million over that span. It has been a difficult process for the Lakers to get up from under that deal over the last several months, but have been unable to work out a trade.
There have been reports that Los Angeles isn’t looking to just make any trade to move on from the 33-year-old, but one that benefits the team. The front office may look to make him a huge part of any trade talks prior to the draft or during it by packaging him with draft picks. Keep in mind, the team has acquired the 39th overall selection from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for cash consideration.
If the Lakers are able to move off Deng’s deal, it would open even more salary cap space that should bring more belief that the team will bring in to max contract free agents this offseason with their expected targets being All-Star forward LeBron James and Paul George. It should be noted that the Lakers have since sent a photo out blurring Deng’s face out.
🚧 Scouts at Work 🚧 pic.twitter.com/2ptpcaFQw3
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 21, 2018
In the 2017-18 season, Deng made just one appearance in the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers where he played in 13 minutes scoring just two points, an assists and a steal. The Lakers had elected to keep him off the bench as inactive with their focus shifted toward getting the younger players on the team consistent playing time.
It appears as if the player in the photo is Deng, but not Luol Deng as we thought. From what we can gather, it appears as though the player is Deng Adel, a 6-foot-7 forward who last played for the Louisville Cardinals. He is projected to be picked somewhere in the second round, and this certainly makes a lot more sense for the Lakers’ scouting team to have on the table.