The Brooklyn Nets are sending Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first proposed a Lakers salary dump attempt concerning the Nets on his latest podcast, The Vertical.
“Brooklyn says, we’ll take on Mozgov or we’ll take on Deng but you’re sending us D’Angelo Russell or your first round pick.”
It was an interesting proposal, and an out for the Lakers, who were set to owe Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng a combined $85-million through the 2019-2020 season.
ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne reported Monday night that the Lakers were looking to move Russell for an additional first rounder.
Lakers trying to acquire *another* first round pick. Have called at least 2 other lottery teams https://t.co/LGJgLa48ry
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 19, 2017
The Brooklyn Nets, who have nearly $40-million in cap space this summer, were a prime target for a salary dump trade. Without question, they could take on both Russell and Mosgov or Deng’s contract.
Less than 24 hours after the reports by both NBA insiders, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped one of his many “Woj bombs:”
Lakers are trading Tim Mozgov and D'Angelo Russell to Nets for Brook Lopez and 27th pick Thursday, sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017
It’s not an ideal price for Brooklyn, as their losing what was likely their franchise player in Brook Lopez. Nonetheless, they were desperate to flip his expiring contract.
Why D’Angelo Russell?
For starters, Russell was the second overall pick in his draft class. The Lakers don’t have a terrible history with draft prospects, and he was likely taken at two for good reason.
Now in the black and white, Russell will likely serve as the starting two. Next to point guard Jeremy Lin, he will be able to focus less on having to facilitate an offense and more on his scoring. In two seasons with the Lakers, he hadn’t seen any improvement on his scoring capability.
He jumped only from 13.2 points to 15.6 per game and shot the same 35 percent from behind the arc both years.
Despite all this, it’s certainly a roster upgrade, from Randy Foye, who averaged only 5.2 points per game, in his 10th season and first with the Nets.
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What’s the Lakers’ motive?
The Los Angeles Lakers, and Indiana Pacers’ Paul George have been more than vocal about their mutual interests. For Paul George, an LA native, he’s looking to come home once he clears free agency in 2018.
For the Lakers, George will be the biggest star on the roster since Kobe Bryant. Take it, that’s not far off, but George will be capable of leading this young core to a winning record.
The only blimp in this master plan, George took the respectable route and notified the Pacers of his intentions. Now, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, and even the Washington Wizards have entered a bidding war for the four-time NBA All-Star.
Should any deal approach completion, it’s been reported the Lakers would immediately step in and counter offer:
Two NBA sources expect Lakers to parachute into Paul George talks if the Cavs are closing in on a deal. Unclear if #2 would be on the table.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 19, 2017
Grading this trade…
For the Lakers, it’s hard to say. Yes, they rid themselves of a massive and revolting contract, but lose a piece to their young core. Though they assuredly weren’t opposed to the idea.
Once hired on, Magic Johnson is reported as saying that every player on the Lakers, aside from Ingram, was available for trade. Guess you can say he’s a man of his word.
Ramona Shelburne reported right after the trade was released, that the Lakers had failed to find a partner withing lottery-pick range.
Lakers had called multiple teams in lottery about acquiring Russell this week. No takers. He becomes the guy who helps them get off Moz $
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 20, 2017
The Lakers have cleared over fifty-million in salary, and have taken on an expiring contract in Brook Lopez. It’s the first time since Pau Gasol they’ve had a competent man at the five, and it could be a game changer.
This trade earns the Los Angeles Lakers a B+.
Brooklyn is taking on unnecessary salary, and his contract won’t be close to worth it. Not something we haven’t seen before, but it will kill free agency ambitions.
They do earn a more than capable backcourt half to pair alongside Lin, but lose their top scorer in Lopez. Russell is on a more than team friendly deal, his rookie contract. The Nets will only have to pay him $5.5 million next year, with a team option for just over $7-million the following.
In regards to Timofey Mozgov, he is an NBA champion. Last season with the Lakers, he averaged 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, while completing 51 percent of his shots. However, he will be on Brooklyn’s books, barring a trade, until 2020.
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Brooklyn is smart to keep adding youth. It was not the best move taking on unnecessary salary with big free agency prospects. Though they did move Lopez’ $22-million off the books.
For Brooklyn, this is a C+ trade. Not terrible, and they may have earned a steal in D’Angelo Russell.
It’s a low ball win for both teams. The Nets received a shooting guard that can score, and the Lakers prepare themselves to trade for Paul George, though he’ll likely sign in 2018.