Tom Thibodeau is determined to add to his collection of former Chicago Bulls players in Minnesota with Luol Deng likely to be the next addition.
The veteran secured a buyout from the Los Angeles Lakers this week and is ready to discuss a move to the Timberwolves, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Stein reports that the franchise has officially launched its pursuit of the 33-year-old.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania claims that he will meet with the organisation this week.
If he agrees to a deal with the T-Wolves, he’ll join a Bulls reunion in Minneapolis which already features Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.
That familiarity is likely to give them an advantage over other interested teams and it’ll be a surprise if Deng ends up elsewhere.
He enjoyed his best seasons playing under Thibodeau in Chicago, earning back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2012 and 2013.
However, the small forward hasn’t played much basketball in the last two years after a forgettable spell in Los Angeles.
He signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Lakers in 2016 but played just 57 times in his two campaigns with them.
Last season, the franchise decided to rebuild and focus on bringing through their talented young players.
Therefore, Deng took to the court just once and played a grand total of 13 minutes.
Getting back on the court
The Brit accepted a buyout of $29 million but left $7.5m on the table to get out of his contract now as he’s desperate to play again.
As a free agent, he’s now able to sign anywhere he wants and a move to Minnesota seems to make perfect sense for him.
He’ll provide experience and veteran leadership on a roster that still features a lot of young players.
The former Duke product is likely to occupy a bench role but he could be a valuable piece on the second unit with his ability to defend and shoot threes.
For his career, he’s averaged solid numbers of 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll recapture the form of his Bulls days if he indeed does agree to team up with those familiar faces in Minnesota.
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