NBA News: Lakers Shelves $136MM Worth Of Acquisitions In Free-agency By Shutting Down Deng & Mozgov
As a recall, the Los Angeles Lakers got in early and active during free agency last summer. They immediately targeted veterans to try and help boost their young core into being at least competitive during the season; it eventually failed, and now, they're shutting down two veterans who they dropped a whopping $136 million over four years on last July.
According to CBS Sports via ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Lakers have effectively shut down both healthy veterans forward Luol Deng and center Timofey Mozgov for the remainder of the season. This is to give the majority of playing time over the final 15 games to their younger players.
Many analysts believe that the move makes a lot of sense, given the fact that the Lakers' season is already over and they need to focus on their young players as well as some positives going on to next season. There's really no good reason to play either Deng or Mozgov, and the numbers are also indicating that the Lakers have been stagnant whenever either one is on the court; overall it's just a standard late-season shut down.
Last summer, the Lakers rushed to the market and handed over a $64 million deal for Timofey Mozgov, an aging, stiff center who had clearly lost his mojo after his recent injury. According to Pro Sports Daily, Mozgov has been great for some years, like 2013 with Denver, and then struggled in other situations, making him overall a very inconsistent player.
With Deng, they got a veteran player with a lot of mileage, as well as several injuries on his resume and also didn't hesitate to drop a big contract on him. However, that one made more sense since they needed a veteran presence.
Every Lakers fan right now is wondering if, under Magic Johnson and new GM Rob Pelinka's leadership, the team will try and unload both of those contracts. It's just hard to see where either veteran player fits in the long-term, with a Lakers team that remains woefully lost when it comes to a clear direction back to where they want to go: the "Promise land."