At age 31, Luol Deng will enter the 2016-17 NBA season playing for the fourth team of his career. Deng, the consummate professional, will start his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers looking to lead his younger teammates by example.
During an interview with Rob Woollard of ABS-CBN News, Deng talked about entering a new chapter of his NBA career and his intention to be a leader for Brandon Ingram and company:
“It’s a new chapter for me. This is my 13th year now. I’m looking forward to being a part of it and leading the young guys,” Deng told AFP at a Lakers media session.
Deng plans to embark on his new leadership role as a veteran with the Lakers through his work ethic both on and off the basketball floor, via Woollard:
“I’m only 31, so I still have a lot of playing in me. I’m looking forward to being a leader on and off the court through my work ethic.”
The NBA journeyman is one of two veteran additions to the Lakers squad this year. Deng joins Timofey Mozgov as free agent additions to the team with both players set to be starters right out of the gate after signing lucrative four-year deals during the offseason. The Lakers also pulled off a trade to acquire 35-year-old point guard Jose Calderon who will also be looked upon to help lead this young group.
Deng will have his work cut out for him as one of the few veterans on this team. The Lakers have eight players 24 or younger on this team with the majority of those players expected to be part of the team’s long-term future.
Although it may be a tall task for Deng, Mozgov, and Calderon, all three veterans have expressed excitement about what Luke Walton and company are putting together in Los Angeles. All three players are looking forward to the upcoming season with hopes of being part of the team that helps turn around this storied NBA franchise.