- Luol Deng
- Julius Randle
This is not a case of either man having a 50% chance of being dealt. The only way that either of these guys get traded is with each other. Julius Randle and Luol Deng have been tied together in trade talks for some time now, and next season, Laker fans should be ready to see a deal involving both men.
Drafting Kyle Kuzma seemed to be the team’s preperation for this kind of move. Nance could have slid into the starting role with Kuzma eating minutes off the bench, however, those roles have since flipped.
Drafting Kuzma has made this trade much easier for the Lakers to do. Now, Los Angeles has a really talented option to succeed Julius Randle. While Kuzma is yet to prove anything in the NBA Regular Season, he is shooting the ball at a very high clip and is scoring in bunches. If he does 75% what he is doing now, he will match Randle’s scoring production.
The reason for this deal is simple: free up cap space. Last offseason, the Lakers made the horrible decision to sign Deng to a four-year, $72 million contract. With three years and $54 million remaining, Deng’s 7.2 points per game definitely do not fit the Lakers’ needs.
In order to get any team to agree to a deal for Deng they are going to have to throw in a young talent such as Randle. This would be a near identical deal to the Nets deal, so the blueprint is already there.
If we see one of these guys get traded they are going to get traded with the other. At this point, Deng and Randle have become completely intertwined in trade talks.