OK, this is funny. You almost have to hand it to LeBron and Klutch Sports, they always seem to have a trick up their sleeve. This move in particular is rather outrageous though and allow me to explain why.
Remember back in the summer of 2016 when everyone under the sun was getting a massive free agent contract? Shit was the wild wild west in NBA free agency. The Lakers shelled out a 4/72M contract for Luol Deng that was pretty much a disaster from he start. He played just 56 games his first year, and then just 1 game in 2017-18. On September 10, 2018 the team ultimately waived him by using the "stretch provision", which is why he is on the books until 2022.
This would make sense for the Lakers to try and recoup if Deng never played again. However, that is not the case at all. In fact, 9 days later on September 10, 2018 he signed with the Timberwolves, where he played a total of 22 games. 22! I'm not sure how the Lakers can claim a "career ending injury" while that same player ya know...continued to play. And not just 1 or 2 games before calling it quits either, he played a quarter of the season!
Imagine the balls on the Lakers front office to pull a move like this. Obviously coming off their title they are looking to add as much as possible, so I understand why they would go this route, but man it is a tough look. I can't see how the league approves it seeing as how Deng didn't end his career while on the Lakers. For those curious, waiving Deng is what helped the Lakers be able to afford LeBron. If granted, this move would bring them an additional $5M in cap space. That's not insignificant.
It'll be fascinating to see what Adam Silver does. I'm not sure he has the balls to say no to LeBron. Even if logically this makes no goddamn sense, when you're at the top of the NBA food chain the league finds a way to help you out. That's how it works. People may not like it because it's the Lakers and not their favorite team, and there's no doubt it would be complete bullshit if it happens, but if it does, should Deng get a ring? I mean he helped bring them LeBron, which brought them AD, which brought them a title. Now he'd be opening up more cap space in an effort to defend that title. I think that makes Deng a top 10 Laker of all time right?