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#pounditTuesday, January 18, 2022

Lakers reportedly outbid Wizards by $20 million for Luol Deng

The Los Angeles Lakers were willing to overpay to get their man this past summer, and it looks like that’s exactly what they did.

According to a report by Zach Lowe of ESPN on Thursday, the Lakers outbid the Washington Wizards by $20 million for then-free agent forward Luol Deng’s services over the offseason. The Wizards apparently had made progress on a three-year deal with Deng but were “stunned” when the Lakers extended a four-year, $72 million offer that Deng ultimately wound up taking.

In retrospect, the Wizards are probably glad the Lakers bit the bullet for them as the 31-year-old Deng hasn’t exactly been aging like a fine wine. He’s averaging a career-low 8.0 points to go along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this season on a putrid 39.0 percent shooting from the field. Deng’s defense, one of his biggest historical strong suits, has also badly regressed — he ranks just 29th amongst small forwards in defensive box score plus-minus, behind the likes of Boston Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown and 39-year-old Paul Pierce (per ESPN).

Meanwhile, Washington has reaped the benefits of a major Year 4 leap from Otto Porter Jr. and a solid all-around contribution from Markieff Morris, their two starting forwards. Deng wasn’t the only free agent fish that the Wizards failed to reel in this past summer, but they probably aren’t kicking themselves for letting him get away, especially at that absurd price.

Image via Luol Deng on Instagram

H/T theScore


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