Lakers Rumors: Team Likely to Pursue Luol Deng Over Summer?

Luol DengThe Los Angeles Lakers will have a lot of questions to answer this summer as the franchise will look to rebuild for the future.

A lot has been made about the Lakers’ plans for the off-season as many expect the team to go after big name free agents. Stars from Carmelo Anthony to LeBron James have been rumored to be targets, but another player could be more likely to suit up for Los Angeles in 2014-15.

After the Chicago Bulls traded Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum trade talked stopped and fans were left wondering what’s next for the Lakers. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld believes that Deng’s future may end up with the Lakers and sees the front office going after the small forward this summer.

 

Deng is a versatile forward and could be considered the Bulls’ best player aside from a healthy Derrick Rose. The former Duke Blue Devil averaged 37.4 minutes per game this season and was trusted by the coaching staff on both ends of the court.

If the Lakers do end up signing Deng, he will instantly become one of the better defensive players on the roster. The forward thrived in coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive system and the Lakers would surely benefit from having him on the court. Deng can also create his own shot and with Kobe Bryant approaching the end of his career, the team will need someone to take some of the pressure off of Kobe to score.

However, Deng will be 29 in April and although he is not thinking about retirement yet, he only has a few seasons left in his prime. Unlike James or Anthony, who are bonafide stars in the NBA, Deng is not necessarily someone that opponents fear. Yes he is very effective when on the court, but he cannot match the all-around dominance of James or the offensive explosion Anthony can provide.

The new Cavalier will be a coveted free agent this summer and the Lakers could definitely go after him. Deng can certainly make the Lakers a better team, but it is hard to see them turn into title contenders if he is the only major signing they have in the off-season.
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