The Los Angeles Lakers wing depth has been completely decimated over the past month thanks to a combination of trades, injuries, and just some bad luck. The first move was dealing away Jordan Clarkson at the trade deadline.
Not long after, the team decided to release veteran Corey Brewer and in a cruel bit of luck, rookie Josh Hart fractured a bone in his hand in practice just hours later. A strained groin has sidelined Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma missed one game with a sprained right ankle.
With so many losses, head coach Luke Walton has had to turn to some unlikely faces, namely 10-day contract players Travis Wear and Derrick Williams. Someone who has not seen the floor is Luol Deng, but Walton revealed that there were some discussions about putting him on the floor, via Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
With Lakers depth issues on the wing, Luke Walton said team revisited possibility of minutes for Luol Deng. However, after conversations with “several people,” including Deng, they decided to keep him where he is.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 17, 2018
Even though he hasn’t played, Deng has been with the team on the bench if for nothing else than to ensure the Lakers had enough players available to suit up. Considering the number of rotation players lost, it isn’t surprising that Walton considered getting Deng some minutes.
In the end, they decided against it as the organization is still looking for the best resolution for this situation. The Lakers hope to trade Deng, much like they did Timofey Mozgov, but no team is willing to take on his contract without adding one of the Lakers’ top young players.
As the Lakers hope to sign two big free agents this summer, finding a way to get out of Deng’s contract is a necessity. Be it a trade, or by stretching it out over some years something will get done.
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