As expected, Luol Deng has signed a one-year deal to join the Minnesota Timberwolves following his buyout from the Los Angeles Lakers recently.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the veteran has penned a contract worth $2.4 million.
Deng didn’t need to take long to make a decision after meeting with T-Wolves head coach and president Tom Thibodeau.
The chance to work with his former Chicago Bulls coach was too good to turn down for the small forward.
Wojnarowski reports that Thibodeau hasn’t guaranteed the 33-year-old any playing time or role on the team but has offered him a chance to earn minutes.
He’ll be joining a roster that already features three of his former Bulls teammates – Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.
That familiarity was a big factor in his decision and gave Minnesota the advantage over other interested teams.
Deng is keen to get back on the court and have a fresh start as he’s coming off a nightmare season with the Lakers.
The two-time All-Star played just one game last year after the purple and gold chose to build around their young stars.
That’s despite signing the Brit to a four-year, $72 million deal in the summer of 2016.
With Deng desperate to play and the Lakers looking to free up cap space, the two parties agreed to a buyout earlier this month with two years still remaining on his contract.
The 14-year vet accepted $29m and chose to leave $7.5m on the table in order to find minutes on another team.
He’ll now have a chance to contribute to a contending team in the Western Conference after the Timberwolves successfully ended their long playoff drought last year.
It should be an easy fit for him as he knows coach Thibodeau’s methods and system very well.
He can definitely be a solid piece off the bench with his defence and three-point shooting.
His experience and leadership off the court will also be valuable on a team that features several youngsters.
Over his career, Deng has averaged 15.0 points on 45.5 percent shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game.
The Sudan native earned both of his All-Star appearances playing under Thibs and also secured a place on the All-Defensive Second Team in 2012.
This may not be Minnesota’s last it of business before the new season as they could be in the market for another veteran.
According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the Wolves are doing “due diligence” on available vets such as Monta Ellis and Brandon Rush.
But Krawczynski states that they would have to go over the tax to sign one and would be surprised if they do.
The franchise will begin their training camp at the end of the month before starting their regular season campaign against the San Antonio Spurs.
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