Last summer the Los Angeles Lakers spent a combined $136 million on the contracts of Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, a pair of veterans the front office believed could help the young talent on the roster grow.
It was clear from the outset that the Lakers overpaid for the two, but after one season the returns were even worse than expected. With the Lakers having their eyes on some major upcoming free agents they will need to clear out cap space and Deng and Mozgov are the obvious choices.
Of course teams would want some compensation for taking on those contracts and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Lakers aren’t willing to give up picks or players right now:
For now, LA resisting salary dumps on Mozgov or Deng needed to clear future space. Teams trying to snag pick/young player to absorb deals.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017
The Lakers are understandably taking a wait-and-see approach with this situation. If they aren’t getting any big-name players this summer that would require the extra cap space then there’s no need to give up a young player or draft pick right now.
The situation could change at any moment as Paul George rumors continue to heat up every day, but as it stands, the Lakers seem content on holding on to Deng and Mozgov for another year.
After another year there would only be two years remaining on each of those deals, making them easier to move should the Lakers need to do so. The team would also presumably have moves in place before they sacrifice draft picks or promising young players.
For Deng and Mozgov, they will simply continue to work this summer and come back when training camp rolls around ready to prove that they are better than what they showed a season ago.