One of the biggest goals of the new front office regime of the Los Angeles Lakers is to undo some of the harm that the previous regime created. In particular, the massive contracts given to Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng last summer need to get off the Lakers’ books.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have already gotten rid of one of those deals, but it cost them D’Angelo Russell in order to do it. Originally however, they were offering something potentially even more important.
According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Lakers were offering an unprotected first-round pick to any team willing to take on Deng or Mozgov’s contract:
They dangled an unprotected first-round pick in front of every team with cap room to dump one of the toxic Timofey Mozgov/Luol Deng deals, sources say, and finding no takers, finally flipped Russell and Mozgov to Brooklyn.
Having just barely survived the limited protections they put on previous draft picks it’s pretty surprising that the new regime would offer an unprotected pick to get out of these deals. It does show just important getting rid of those contracts is to the Lakers.
Magic and Pelinka have made no secret of their desire to change the fortunes of this team pretty quickly and, as such, have their eyes set on the free agency class of 2018 that is set to feature LeBron James, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook.
Both George and James have been linked to the Lakers with George a possibility to join the franchise before then via trade. Pelinka says the Lakers need two stars, but in order to get the necessary salary cap room, Deng’s contract will have to go.
The Lakers have big plans for their future and will do whatever they need to accomplish those goals. Hopefully, they don’t find themselves in a similar position, without crucial draft picks, because they arefocused solely on big names.