Before Ian Mahinmi came into the picture to be signed by the Wizards, who secured him with a four-year deal worth $64 million, Luol Deng was their target. The sides never came to terms and the L.A. Lakers took him away, league sources told CSNmidatlantic.com at the time.
Turns out, Deng wasn't that much of a better option. Mahinmi injured his left knee that required surgery to repair cartliage before the season ever started. Then he developed tendinitis in the right knee and has played in just one game. He's now undergoing platelet-rich therapy on both knees and is projected to be out six weeks. Deng, 31, has started 31 games for the Lakers and is averaging career-lows of 8.0 points and shooting just 39% from the field.
Zach Lowe of ESPN talked about him recently:
"The disastrous deals for Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng will make it hard for the Lakers to fit even one max-level deal signed after 2017, and almost impossible to absorb two. (The Lakers badly overpaid for Deng; Washington had traction with Deng on a three-year deal worth $20 million less overall than L.A. ended up paying, and was stunned to learn of L.A.'s offer, according to several league sources.)"
Lowe's report is accurate. According to a league source to CSNmidaltantic.com at the time, the Wizards and Deng were $1.5 million apart in negotiations. The Lakers offered the veteran a four-year deal worth $72 million. The Wizards also weren't willing to match the length of the contract for Deng, a stretch four option who has had diminishing returns since he was a two-time All-Star.
Mahinmi ended up being the big-ticket item, though the Wizards went with Andrew Nicholson at Deng's position for $26 million over four years.