Britain's Luol Deng was waived Saturday by the Los Angeles Lakers, enabling the club to save enough money under NBA salary cap rules to land a top 2019 free agent.
The move came on the first day the Lakers could use a waive-and-stretch rule to spread the final year of his salary cap cost over three seasons.
That will give the Lakers enough money next year to add a maximum-level free agent to play alongside LeBron James as the once-mighty team tries to rebuild around the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player after years of struggles.
Deng, 33, played in 57 games for the Lakers over two seasons, averaging 7.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists. But his time was limited since Magic Johnson took charge of the club.
"We made this move to further our future salary cap and roster flexibility as we continue to build this Lakers team according to our current overall vision," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said.
Next year's potential free agent market includes Golden State stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and Toronto's Kawhi Leonard.
Deng, born in what is now South Sudan, looks to continue his career for what would be a 15th NBA campaign after more than nine seasons in Chicago and stints in Cleveland, Miami as well as with the Kakers.
He has career averages of 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals over 880 NBA games.