The Los Angeles Lakers have been mentioned in various NBA trade rumors lately not only because the team is in transition after Kobe Bryant's retirement, but also due to the buyer's remorse the Lakers are feeling over the four-year, $72 million contract the team gave small forward Luol Deng this past summer. According to Bleacher Report, Deng is playing poorly this season and is causing the team to consider unloading Deng and his colossal contract if they can find a taker.
The Boston Celtics have been searching for a quality center to play alongside Al Horford, and a number of big-name players have been alleged targets of the Celtics' brass. NESN has discussed the possibility of Sacramento Kings superstar center DeMarcus Cousins coming to Boston, but head coach Brad Stevens is not interested in taking on the talented but troubled star, so a move to acquire Cousins seems doubtful. The Celtics may be forced to consider a second-tier option, such as Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau is looking to add a veteran player who has played for him in the past and knows his system. A player who has been named as someone Thibodeau could be focusing on is small forward Luol Deng, who played for Thibodeau when they were both part of the Chicago Bulls organization. Thibodeau values Deng not only for his performance on the basketball court, but also the leadership he provides in the locker room.
The latest batch of NBA trade rumors are pointing toward a possible deal between the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Minnesota Timberwolves. In this hypothetical proposal, the Lakers would receive small forward Jaylen Brown and center Nikola Pekovic. The Celtics would bring in Gorgui Dieng, small forward Shabazz Muhammad, and a future second-round pick from Minnesota. The Timberwolves would round out this three-team swap by obtaining Luol Deng and power forward Julius Randle.
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As we begin to examine this rumored trade offer, there appear to be a number of things wrong with this theoretical transaction. Per the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, the salary numbers do not work. Gorgui Dieng recently signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension with the Timberwolves that will kick in next season, and this creates a situation known as a "poison pill" contract, which makes trading Dieng to the Celtics impossible in this particular scenario.
The Lakers may have to take on an unwanted player if they intend to dump Luol Deng's contract, but this rumored proposal has them accepting a deal for Nikola Pekovic, who is not only owed $23.7 million over the next two years, but is also out for the season with recurring foot injuries and may not ever be able to return to the NBA (per CBS Sports). Los Angeles would be much better off just holding onto Luol Deng since he is healthy and is also a good influence on the Lakers' crop of young players.
The Minnesota Timberwolves would also have good reason to nix this trade if it were offered to them. In theory, Tom Thibodeau would certainly like to have Luol Deng on his team, but that's assuming there is a place in the lineup for Deng -- and there is not. Minnesota has budding superstar Andrew Wiggins at small forward, and neither he nor Deng have shown they can play shooting guard (the power forward spot would be manned by Julius Randle if this deal went through).
Current NBA trade rumors are buzzing about a potential deal between the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Minnesota Timberwolves. However, there are a multitude of problems with this rumored transaction: the deal makes no sense for the Lakers or the Timberwolves, and even if the Celtics were interested in Gorgui Dieng, NBA trade and salary cap restrictions would not allow them to obtain Dieng unless the deal had a completely different structure. This NBA trade rumor has been "busted" on every level, so the search for an advantageous trade will go on for these three teams.
[Featured Image by Jim Mone/AP Images]