As it stands now, there have been no reported talks between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers regarding veteran swingman, Luol Deng. Given Deng’s exorbitant contract and the reduced role he’s seen since joining the Lakers, that’s not much of a surprise. However, despite no known talks having occurred, that doesn’t mean Dallas wouldn’t be interested in Deng as part of a larger move. In fact, Dallas is one of the few teams that could take on his contract while still improving their roster. It’s no secret the Lakers firmly believe they are in the mix for guys like Paul George and Lebron James this Summer, so a deal with Dallas kicking them some expiring contracts would be mutually beneficial. What Dallas should do is insist on LA tossing in Deng as part of a deal to bring Julius Randle to Big D.
The move would likely require a pick as well but Deng’s contract is the biggest hurdle for LA to clear if it’s going to have the financial ability to draw one, let alone multiple “big fish” in the offseason. As such, Dallas could parle that leverage into multiple players who could make an impact in the short term.
The 32-year-old Luol Deng has appeared in just one game for the Lakers this year, playing a grand total of 13 minutes in said appearance. Simply put, he’s not part of the team’s youth movement and therefore deemed a mentor veteran to the bench. Deng does have a lot of miles on him but his high basketball IQ and defensive ability, even if they’ve slipped some in recent years, make him a nice pickup for the short term. Still, he’s got 3 years and $54 million left on his current deal. Ouch… The real “money” in this deal would be Randle.
At just 23 years old, Julius Randle has remained a focal point of several bad Lakers teams the past few years. That said, he’s a guy averaging more than 12 points and close to 9 boards a night for his career. That kind of production, especially coming from a bench player most of this season is significant.
It’s too early to say but Randle could make a good pairing for Mavs rookie, Dennis Smith Jr.