NBA Trade Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers To Trade Luol Deng To Minnesota Timberwolves For Shabazz Muhammad?
More NBA trade rumors are coming out regarding the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves. The trade would involve Lakers’ forward Luol Deng going to the Timberwolves for a young player. Deng is widely regarded as providing a strong veteran presence in every locker room he has been in, including now with the Los Angeles Lakers. The possibility of adding more youth in the talent department would entice the Lakers to deal Deng, who despite adding leadership, may not be a great basketball fit for what the Lakers want to do. Getting another young player who can play an uptempo game could propel the Lakers into playoff contention.
The Timberwolves, like the Lakers, could be eyeing the postseason, but only after making a smart move. That smart move could very well be with the Los Angeles Lakers for Luol Deng.
On the surface, the Minnesota Timberwolves are stacked. There is young talent up and down the Timberwolves’ roster. Led by Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach LaVine the Timberwolves have a luxury of talent under the age of 25. In some cases that is a thing. This is not the case.
Having too much youth will hurt you in the NBA. Very seldom does a team win, or even compete for an NBA championship without a player of consequence over the age of 25. Some may point out the Golden State Warriors as an exception, disregarding the leadership of Andre Iguodala. Iguodala’s veteran presence, and defense is what helped the Warriors win.
In the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, that older player is not necessarily there. At least in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s eyes. Reports of him looking for a veteran player, one that he is comfortable with are accurate.
Many of the NBA trade rumors have Thibodeau targeting one of his former Chicago Bulls’ standouts. That list would include Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, and perhaps Joakim Noah. In order to complete a deal the Timberwolves are willing to give up a young player for one of those veterans, according to a Yahoo Sports report.
A lot of deals have been bandied about since the report came to the surface. Most of them with the Lakers and Bulls being at the center of the NBA trade rumors with the Timberwolves.
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) December 7, 2016
Bleacher Report is citing that the Timberwolves could dangle forward Shabazz Muhammad in a trade with the Lakers for Luol Deng.
Any deal with the Lakers and Timberwolves involving Luol Deng would require the contract of Nikola Pekovic going back to Los Angeles. It will have to be done to match salaries, and it is likely that the Lakers are okay with taking on the money remaining on Pekovic’s deal. Due to an injury, the center will not play this season. After the year is over, whichever team has him on their roster can get out of hidefensively If it is the Los Angeles Lakers which take Pekovic in a trade involving Luol Deng, they essentially shed $18 million in cap. And with a strong free agency class slated for the next off-season, the Lakers would be one of just a handful of teams that can sign a top-tier free agent. Also, having Shabazz Muhammad helps the Lakers defensively with his activity. In a sense, Muhammad would serve for Lakers’ coach Luke Walton in a similar role to Iguodala in Golden State. So there is a fit.
As for the Timberwolves, getting Luol Deng would force them to lose some financial flexibility in regards to future deals, but the Los Angeles Lakers’ forward knows how to win. That alone is enough to help get the Minnesota Timberwolves to the next step.
Nothing is imminent between the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves, although the conversations are taking place. This NBA trade rumor is worth keeping an eye on for the next couple of weeks
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