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Tuesday Musings: Surviving September

With August finally over, the NBA season is within sight

Los Angeles Lakers Media Day Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

We are within a month of the NBA season fully beginning to take shape. At the end of September, NBA training camps will begin and we will start to hear the age-old tales of the summer.

Some players will be in the best shape of their lives, ready to advance their careers to another level. Other players will have added that missing dimension (or six) to their game, whether that is new-found ball-handling skills or an increased focus on defense. Finally, there will be the big man with the corner-three waiting to be unleashed. A shot the big man claims he has been able to make all his life, but after a summer of practice the coach is finally willing to let him let it fly from deep.

It’s a magical time, when all teams have a chance to improve on their previous year, every rookie is the potential savior of the future, and creeping optimism is the status quo. Hopefully, we can enjoy it while it lasts.

Until then, not much news is really going to break. Sure there might be a few rumors about who does not like who, but those may only be rumblings for now.

However, the Wolves may find themselves with an opportunity to shore up their roster and continue to fulfill their Timberbulls potential, as Luol Deng has been bought out by the Los Angeles Lakers and is now a free agent. As is the case with almost every former Chicago Bull, the Wolves reportedly have interest.

Luol Deng has been most famous in the last few years for his ridiculous contract as compared to his playing time. The Lakers were one of the worst offenders during the 2016 cap spike in handing out ridiculous contracts with zero future planning. Deng received a 4-year $72 million dollar contract, while they also signed Timofey Mozgov to a 4-year $64 million dollar contract and Jordan Clarkson to a 4-year $50-million dollar extension. Financial prudence, this was not.

However, it is very unclear how much Deng has left in the tank. After all, he only played a total of 13 minutes last year in one game last year. The year before that, he did play in 56 games, averaging just over 26 minutes a game, but put up the worst numbers of his career, averaging 7.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game on 38.7 percent shooting from the field and 30.9 shooting from deep.

Of course, before that season, Deng has had a long and successful career, primarily with the Chicago Bulls and then reinventing himself as a stretch-four with the Miami Heat.

If Deng were to be open to signing with the Wolves, they would be foolish not to snap him up. Having more swing men is always better. If Deng shows he can play a little, that gives them some breathing room rather than relying on the rookie Keita-Bates Diop to fill that 3-4 swing role. If Deng is unable to play (and he seems quite adamant he can still play), then he is simply another role player at the end of the bench playing for what is likely the veteran’s minimum. There is really no downside here, other than the continued Timberbulls jokes.

Odds and Ends

Nothing. It’s been a whole month of nothing. Hopefully, September is more exciting.