That contract is now officially over.
Deng’s monster $72 million contract is done and off the Lakers’ books.
In total, Deng only played 57 games for the team and was never a huge presence for the squad, despite being their highest-paid player for years.
It’s the end of an era and the Lakers couldn’t be happier about it.
Deng’s massive contract was part of a rebuilding effort the Lakers were going through after the retirement of Kobe Bryant.
Deng was seen as a veteran role player who could help the young squad flourish in Bryant’s absence.
Instead, he was soon benched often and didn’t even start in games.
He didn’t even play in the last 22 games of his first season in order for the young, up-and-coming players to have more time on the floor.
The following season, Deng was officially waived by the Lakers, which allowed him to move onto another team while still being paid the rest of his contract by the Lakers.
Deng would later suit up for the Minnesota Timberwolves but would still be receiving millions from LA.
It’s wild to think that a contract signed in 2016 could still be paying out, especially since Deng hasn’t played in the NBA since 2019.
The Deng contract made many Lakers fans hesitant about any huge paydays – especially for veteran players.
They simply don’t trust the front office to make the right choices.
The Westbrook experiment will surely only add fuel to that fire.