Deng will sign a one-year contract with the Timberwolves, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports. After signing a four-year, $72 million contract with the Lakers in July of 2016, Deng ultimately fell out of favor in Los Angeles. He wound up seeing the court just once during the 2017-18 campaign and was then bought out of his contract this summer. That's allowed Deng to reunite with head coach Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, who had previously coached him in Chicago. Considering the familiarity between the two, Deng could find himself in a rotational role at one of the two forward spots. Still, at 33 years old, expectations can be tempered quite a bit when looking at Deng's situation for fantasy purposes and at this point, he'll be nothing more than a veteran depth piece.
The Timberwolves are interested in signing Deng, who cleared waivers earlier in the week, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports. Deng was bought out by the Lakers on Sept. 1, ending a misguided two-year stint with the team that signed him to a lucrative, four-year deal back in 2016. The veteran appeared in only 57 combined games for the Lakers -- including only one contest last season -- and is still owed more than $36 million. Unsurprisingly, Deng's former coach in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau, is apparently interested in acquiring the 33-year-old's services, and the two sides will likely meet in the coming days. If Deng were to sign with the Timberwolves, he'd likely step into a reduced bench role, but given Thibodeau's history of favoring veterans, particularly ones with whom he has a history, it's quite possible Deng could work his way into a consistent rotation spot. In 2016-17, Deng started 49 games for the Lakers, averaging 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game. One year prior, he posted averages of 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds across 74 games for the Miami Heat.
Deng and the Lakers reached an agreement on a buyout Saturday, making him a free agent, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. Deng was owed a whopping $36.8 million over the next two years after making just one appearance during the 2017-18 season. Expectations should be low for Deng regardless of where he signs in free agency, if he even decides to continue playing, that is.
Deng, who remains under contract with the Lakers through the 2019-20 season, is believed to be "all but semi-retired" and may never play in the NBA again, a source informed Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. The Lakers' decision to sign Deng to a four-year, $72 million contract on the second day of free agency in the summer of 2016 was a questionable decision at the time, and has only looked worse in hindsight. After averaging 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game over his first 56 appearances with the Lakers, Deng was effectively phased out of the rotation after the All-Star break in 2016-17 and only played in the season opener in 2017-18 before sitting out the rest of the campaign. It's not believed that the 33-year-old is in poor health, but a rebuilding Lakers squad with a number of younger, more talented forwards has simply had little incentive to give Deng minutes. Even though Los Angeles is expected to be more competitive during the upcoming season with LeBron James in the fold, there still won't be any minutes left over for Deng with Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and others on hand. None of the league's other 29 clubs are likely willing to take on the money remaining on Deng's onerous contract, so the veteran looks like he'll continue to stick on the Lakers roster even though he's not a part of the team's plans.
Deng (ankle) is listed as out for Wednesday's game against the Clippers. Deng's season is officially over, after only seeing action in the first game of the season. His absence won't have an impact on the Lakers rotation.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||67||291||44.6||72||33.6||127||75.1||781||11.66||1397|