Once a focal point for a perennial playoff Chicago Bulls team, forward Luol Deng has since seen his role and value diminished across the NBA.
Deng has been with the Los Angeles Lakers for the past two seasons and has been used sparsely. Though Deng was somewhat involved his first year in LA, the two-time All-Star appeared in only one game for the Lakers last season. With such infrequent use, the Lakera and Deng agreed to a buyout, effectively making him a free agent.
Now with training camp just weeks away, Deng has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Free agent Luol Deng has reached agreement on a one-year, $2.4M deal with Minnesota, pending physical, per league sources.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 10, 2018
With his career now in its advanced stages, it remained to be seen if any team would take a shot but it makes sense for Minnesota to take a flier on the veteran. Of course, the connection between Luol Deng and former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is obvious, but the Wolves could use veteran experience on their wings.
However, signing with Minnesota doesn’t necessarily mean he will have a solidified role in their rotation. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Thibodeau hasn’t guaranteed that Deng would get playing time.
Thibodeau has made no promises to Deng on playing time and role, but has offered the chance to earn minutes on a roster that includes three of his ex-Chicago Bulls teammates — Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.
Knowing Thibodeau and his preference to give his starters a heavy dosage of minutes on a nightly basis, Deng may be on the outside looking in when it comes to getting consistent minutes. But Deng can still add value by bringing additional depth and veteran experience to a young Wolves squad gunning for a second straight postseason appearance.