Lakers Trade Rumors: How they can land Paul George now instead of later

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images) /

Luol Deng, Los Angeles finally part ways

It was only a matter of time before the Lakers split with Luol Deng, even when it was announced that he’d be joining the Lakers in free agency when he did. He’s their worst contract in recent memory, but could be the biggest key to landing Paul George.

So, for whatever reason, I guess we can thank the former front office for this one.

It finally puts the forward in a place where he’s welcomed, and gives the Thunder an out to try a new route for the remainder of their season.

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Deng’s deal pays him $17 million each season and it’s just not worth it for his services. The Lakers don’t even have plans to include him in the rotation anymore, so it’s pointless to keep him any longer than they really need to.

Especially on their books.

Magic Johnson has seemed to have an infatuation with landing Paul George for whatever reason, so if it means giving up Luol Deng — a player that won’t hurt anything else that’s already happened this season — I don’t see him hesitating even for a second to include him in the deal to OKC.

Deng is averaging just two points and one assist over the time that he has been on the floor this season. Because of his low production numbers, there is even more of a reason for the Lakers to want to include him.

It’s not clear exactly how the Thunder would decide to utilize Deng, but perhaps the veteran forward would thrive in a place where he’s not expected to be any sort of leader or veteran presence. That remains the biggest unknown about this entire scenario.