Another former Bull is heading to Minnesota as free agent forward Luol Deng and the Timberwolves have signed a one-year deal. The move, announced Monday afternoon, reunites Deng with coach Tom Thibodeau, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose on one of the Western Conference’s most interesting teams entering the 2018-19 season.
His new deal with the Timberwolves will be worth $2.4 million, per The Athletic.
Deng, who played with the Bulls from 2004-14, spent the past two years with the Lakers after signing a huge four-year deal as a free agent.
However, both sides agreed this summer that things weren’t working out as planned, so they came to terms on a buyout in which Deng gave back some of his guaranteed salary in exchange for the freedom to play elsewhere. The move provided the Lakers with huge cap savings in 2019 that could free the door to signing another All-Star next year.
That new team will feature a lot of old faces as Deng, Butler, Gibson and Rose all played together under Thibodeau in Chicago. It’s fair to say the band is getting back together, although in very different circumstances with Deng and Rose far from the players they once were.
Deng appeared in just one game with the Lakers last season, so we have to go back to 2016-17 when he averaged 7.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 56 games. He was a starter in the NBA as recently as 2015-16, but it’s been a fast drop-off for the 33-year-old to date.