The Los Angeles Lakers purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019. The 2019 NBA free agency will be loaded with numerous superstars who can help LeBron James bring the Lakers back to their former glory. These include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan.
However, there is currently one obstacle that is preventing the Lakers from acquiring their second superstar: Luol Deng and the remaining two-years and $36.8 million left on his contract. According to Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report, the Lakers may consider engaging in a trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks recently helped the Oklahoma City Thunder get rid of Carmelo Anthony, and there is a possibility that they could do the same with the Lakers if the price is right.
“This is asking a ton of the Atlanta Hawks front office after it already absorbed and bought out Carmelo Anthony’s bloated contract to ship off Dennis Schroder to the Oklahoma City Thunder. But if they’re willing to pay Luol Deng and assume even more financial responsibility, they should be able to get additional assets in future drafts that could help facilitate a stronger rebuild.”
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Lakers will be sending Luol Deng, a 2019 first-round pick, and a top-20 protected 2021 first-round pick to the Hawks for Jeremy Lin and a 2019 second-round pick. The trade works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
After the Hawks traded Dennis Schroder to the Thunder, Jeremy Lin is the only veteran point guard on their roster who could mentor Trae Young. However, the Hawks will definitely entertain the idea of moving Lin and absorbing Deng’s lucrative deal if they will be acquiring two future first-round picks in the process. Now that LeBron James is playing for the Lakers, the 2019 and 2021 first-round selections aren’t expected to fall in the lottery, but it will still allow the Hawks to add young and talented players that can help them speed up the rebuilding process.
Meanwhile, losing two first-round picks makes more sense for the Lakers than giving up at least one of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball just to get rid of Luol Deng. Lin’s contract is set to expire after the 2018-19 NBA season, enabling the Lakers to free a huge chunk of their salary cap space to chase their target superstars in 2019 free agency class.