With 48 hours to go until the kick-off of the 2017 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets have sent shock waves throughout the league. On Tuesday night, the Lakers agreed to send D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and the number 27 overall pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and The Vertical reported.
The Los Angeles Lakers have created a ton of cap space with this deal by shedding the remainder of Mozgov’s deal; as he was still owed $54 million over the next three years. Mozgov was signed to a four-year, $64 million deal just weeks after he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA Finals. He started in 52 games and averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in his only season in Los Angeles.
With the Los Angeles Lakers exploring the idea of obtaining Paul George in the future, they have gotten one step closer to that. Shedding Mozgov’s deal, plus the removal of Russell gets them within striking distance of that happening.
With the Lakers also moving Russell, it moves the Lakers closer to selecting Lonzo Ball from UCLA on Thursday night. Russell is two years removed from being the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. But it hasn’t worked out like the Lakers had hoped and with the chance to go with Ball, Russell became expendable and is now on the move.
The Nets, who are still in a full rebuilding move, move the final holdover from the New Jersey Nets in Lopez. The veteran was in the final year of his contract and it seemed like a trade was inevitable. Lopez had found himself in a thousand trade rumors over the last few years, but a move never happened.
That was until Tuesday night, as Lopez will now go 3,000 west and go from Brooklyn to Showtime. The 29-year-old Lopez is also a former first-round pick, as he was the #10 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft and has spent his entire career with the Nets.
In his nine-year career with the Nets, Lopez averaged 18.6 and 7.1 rebounds. Now he’ll get a chance to take his talents to Los Angeles and play under the new direction and guidance of Magic Johnson.