Before there was LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers were just a team looking for their next big talent.
The famous 'young core' of that era included D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle. Of course, NBA veteran Luol Deng was also a part of that crew before being taken out of the rotation.
For a while, he was being paid millions while not playing for the team at all and it got a lot of attention from fans online.
But recently, Luol Deng set the record straight on his tenure with the team and where things went wrong.
"And everybody's talking about the money that I'm making. I gave a lot of money back to get out of L.A. A lot of other people, they just said, 'Nah, F that. I'm going to stay around. I don't care what, whatever.' And people could post whatever they want to post, but the Lakers were not posting how much I gave them back. But I'm always going to be the guy who just took the money, but I could have been somewhere else with the same money playing. I made a decision to go there [to L.A.], and I never said I don't want to play. They made that decision.
"Even if you don't like the way I play, or even if I'm struggling, there's no way I wasn't good enough to play on that team. No way. And I showed it in practice. I showed it every day. It's a decision that you made that you didn't want me to play. There's a lot of other teams in the league that I could have been playing for. So that's really the situation with that. And that's how it went down."
Essentially, it wasn't that Deng pulled himself from the lineup. Despite reports about his unhappiness with the state of the team, it seems like he was more than willing and able to contribute.
Deng would go on to Minnesota for the final season of his career before retiring in 2019. He continued to get paid by the Lakers for many years after.