Update: Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times says Deng may not be affected by the travel ban. Original story follows.
Every NBA player is banned from travelling on the court, but a new executive order has left Luol Deng’s travel status with the team in jeopardy off of it. The United States enacted a ban barring entry into the country to anyone from Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. As one of two NBA players to originally hail from Sudan (along with Milwaukee Bucks rookie Thon Maker), Luol Deng’s future status to travel with the Lakers should they leave the country is hazy.
A federal judge granted a stay of the order on Saturday night, but it’s unknown how it will affect Deng and Maker’s abilities to travel with their teams to Toronto in coming years (The Lakers have already played their one game in Toronto this season).
As a response, the NBA has made contact with the U.S. State Department to clarify the issue (via Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post):
“We have reached out to the State Department and are in the process of gathering information to understand how this executive order would apply to players in our league who are from one of the impacted countries,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday night. “The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world.”
Deng is now a citizen of the U.K., but since he was born in Sudan he still may be affected by the order were he to try to leave and then re-enter the United States. Whether or not Deng can travel with the team to Toronto or any preseason games overseas going forward will be worth watching.