Britain’s greatest player of all-time, Luol Deng, has joined the NBA free-agent sweep stakes frenzy and accepted a 4-year $72 million offer from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Fresh off of another impressive playoff run with the Miami Heat, Deng came into the most lucrative free-agency signing period in NBA history in a strong position as an unrestricted free agent, at the top of his game. The 2-time All-Star forward was courted by a number of teams who recognise the value of the versatile 6’9 veteran brings in the new era of ‘small ball’ across the league, but ultimately chose the purple and gold, joining new head coach Luke Walton on his mission to re-invigorate the storied franchise with an exciting, multi-dimensional, fluid style of play.
Deng is well-respected throughout the NBA as an elite defender and multi-skilled offensive threat who can play 2 or 3 positions on court, while providing veteran leadership in the locker room and outstanding character representation for the franchise off-court.
Walton will now look to Deng to lead Brandon Ingram (2nd overall pick in the recent NBA Draft), DeAngelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. who have less than 5 years of NBA experience combined, compared with Deng’s 12 years of service.
Ingram, in particular, will be a player who should nestle nicely under Deng’s wise wings and is perhaps the most intriguing player on the new-look Lakers roster. Some have compared the Duke University stand-out to a young Kevin Durant with defensive tendencies, who also played just 1 year with the Blue Devils, just as Deng did back in 2003.
Though some may not have seen it coming, Deng signing in LA looks to be a perfect fit for all in the post-Kobe Bryant era for a young franchise in need of versatility and veteran leadership. We look forward to the next chapter in Luol’s legendary career and as ever, wish MM and Britain’s most decorated alumni success beyond all expectations.