One of the storylines for the Los Angeles Lakers that people followed in this year's offseason was whether or not Luol Deng would get traded. Deng signed a four-year, $72 million pact with the Lakers in July of 2016. At that time, he was seen as a great addition to the team because he is a proven NBA veteran. Unfortunately, he struggled in his first season in Los Angeles. By the end of the season, it looked like the Lakers did not get their money's worth.

Deng's poor performance in the previous season led to him getting dragged into the NBA trade rumor mill.

Many believe the Lakers should trade him to get rid of his hefty contract, save the money, and use it in next year's free agency period. However, the purple and gold franchise ignored all the trade talks and are holding on to him for now. At the moment, the 32-year-old is doing the same. His focus is on mentoring the youngsters on the team and improving his own game.

"This year I’m just working on my game, be the best I can be, but also be a mentor, just be there for these young guys," Deng said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Joining Deng as mentors in Los Angeles are Andrew Bogut, Corey Brewer, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Brook Lopez. All of them are expected to guide the developing talent the Lakers have and help the team achieve success in its new campaign.

Brandon Ingram to take over at small forward

It is good that Deng seems happy and content with his present role because he is unlikely to start again for Los Angeles. In the 2016-17 season, Deng had the starting job at the small forward position, but the Lakers took it away and gave it to Ingram. The 20-year-old will continue to take on the responsibilities of a starter.

By doing this, the Lakers are helping Ingram in his development. Ingram starting over Deng also shows the direction the organization is going in. Brandon Ingram is the future of the franchise, and it looks as though the torch has been passed.

Trade remains possible

Sadly for Deng, even if he is settling in in Los Angeles, it is still possible for him to get traded during the 2017-18 season.

As mentioned, the Lakers are keeping him for now, though they might pull the trigger once a tempting offer comes their way or an opportunity to add a star becomes available. The rebuilding franchise is searching for a new franchise player following the retirement of Kobe Bryant. For now, they will rely on the likes of Ingram and 2017 second overall pick, Lonzo Ball.