Luol Deng has agreed to a one-year contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Deng will become the latest ex-Chicago Bull to come to Minnesota under former coach Tom Thibodeau, joining up with Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.
Only two years after signing a massive four-year, $72 million deal, Deng and the Lakers parted ways after agreeing to a $7.5 million buyout, according to ESPN.
Anyone who’s been following basketball wasn’t surprised to see Deng hitting the free agent market again.
Deng played only 57 games in total for the Lakers, appearing in only one game for all of last season.
Thibodeau has a history of bringing in veteran players he’s familiar with and may see Deng as a viable option off the bench.
Deng averaged a respectable 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game over his first 56 games with the Lakers. He later saw himself faded out of the team in the latter half of the 2016-17 season, with the team preferring to feature a group of younger forwards instead.
The year before, he posted averages of 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds across 74 games for the Miami Heat.
Now 33, Deng is looking for consistent playing time to breathe some life back into his career.
While Deng may have a chance to get significant minutes with Minnesota, it’s also entirely possible he’s relegated to a depth option off the bench.
Last year, Minnesota finished eighth in the Western Conference and made the playoff before losing a 4-1 series to the league MVP, James Harden, and the Houston Rockets.
With LeBron’s arrival in L.A. this summer, it’s going to be an uphill fight for Minnesota to make the playoffs again this year. Along with the addition of LeBron, the Lakers also signed Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and several other veterans to short-term deals, strengthening their young team with experienced players.
According to ESPN, Minnesota are placed at No. 15 in its NBA power rankings, five spots below its ranking last year.