Lakers Rumors: Luol Deng Buyout Leaves Team Just Short In Salary Cap Space To Offer Kevin Durant Max Contract In 2019 NBA Free Agency
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest story over the last few days for the Los Angeles Lakers is that they were able to part ways with Luol Deng via an agreement on a buyout and stretch provision. The saga began in 2016 when Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak signed Deng to a four-year, $72 million contract.

SHOP NOW: CHECK OUT THE LATEST MERCH 🔥🔥🔥

The contract would quickly be known as one of the NBA’s worst, and it ultimately required the Lakers to pay a player who essentially never saw time on the court $18 million per year. Deng appeared in the opener last season, then never played again.

It was reported Deng, in agreeing to a buyout, forfeited $7.5 million of his remaining salary. However, the final value of the terms to Deng’s buyout were slightly lower than that, via ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

The difference shouldn’t seem like a big deal. However, it does slightly change how the Lakers can approach 2019 NBA free agency. Instead of $38.2 million, the Lakers will now have a flat $38 million in salary cap space.

That leaves them just shy of the $38.2 million needed to offer a max contract Kevin Durant. Due to Durant reaching his 10th year of service in the NBA, his max contract spikes from $35.5 million to $38.2, putting the Lakers just out of reach — for the time being.

It certainly isn’t a difference that Durant perhaps would be open to forfeiting, or one that the Lakers couldn’t erase with other transactions.

In addition to Durant, the team could use the max-contract slot to pursue the likes of Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson, among others. Though, Thompson remains focused on the Golden State Warriors and Butler has been rumored to want to team up with Kyrie Irving.

Whatever path they choose, the Lakers will have their fair share of salary cap space heading into 2019, in addition to have LeBron James and the entirety of their young core intact.

Are you following us on Instagram? We’ve changed our handle to @LakersNationOfficial! Find us on Facebook at @LakersNation, and on Twitter @LakersNation.

You May Also Like

Lakers Draft Rumors: L.A. ‘Split’ On Whether To Take Lonzo Ball Or Josh Jackson

The Los Angeles Lakers landed the No. 2 in the upcoming NBA Draft for the third consecutive season…

Lakers Rumors: Rob Pelinka Will Remain General Manager & Could See Role Increase With Magic Johnson Stepping Down

After a disappointing first season with LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers were heading into another…

NBA Rumors: Lakers Did Not Have ‘Appetite’ For Trades After Kobe Bryant’s Death

While resuming with the normalcy of an NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are still dealing with the unthinkable loss of…

Lakers Rumors: Teams Won’t Sell The Farm For Paul George, Strong Possibility He Signs With L.A.

The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for a superstar, and it appears that they have their sights set on Indiana Pacers forward Paul George….