Despite the Los Angeles Lakers missing out on their top targets in free agency yet again, the franchise certainly hasn’t held anything back.
The Lakers offered big money to forward Kent Bazemore to try and lure him back to Los Angeles, however, he declined and instead took less money to remain with the Atlanta Hawks. After that, the Lakers used that offer to sign 12-year veteran Luol Deng according to TNT’s David Aldridge.
Lakers bumped up offer for Luol Deng to $18M per–same that they offered Kent Bazemore–after Bazemore turned them down to stay in Atlanta.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 2, 2016
Though he’s not a household name, Deng is as solid and consistent as they get. He’s got a career average of 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Perhaps is biggest quality is his reliability as a plug-n-play guy. On top of being a defensive specialist, he is a very efficient shooter, going 45 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point land.
As nice as it would have been to land one of the big-name free agents this offseason, the Lakers did not wait around to sign the quality players remaining. With the Lakers in full rebuild mode, signing players like Deng and Timofey Mozgov to help with the development of their young guys is crucial at this time.
With the salary cap expected to rise again next season, money won’t be an issue for any team around the league. For the Lakers to even be in contention for next summer’s free agency sweepstakes, they will need to put a product on the floor that other potential franchise players will be interested in.