The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets turned the entire NBA upside-down just two days before the NBA Draft.
Many believed that even though Magic Johnson only deemed Brandon Ingram as untouchable, that D’Angelo Russell wouldn’t be traded this summer. Now, the D’Angelo Russell experiment is now over in Los Angeles and he will now be the best player on the Brooklyn Nets who were in need of a young player to rebuild with.
Now, while many fans are in shock and anger due to the Lakers trading away Russel, there are a lot of good things that came away from this trade. For starters, that horrendous acquisition of Timofey Mozgov is now off of the Lakers cap.
The Lakers will now shed $48 million over the next 3 years by getting rid of Mozgov. For a player that had very little impact on the team, the contract was a killer for the Lakers to have, and the salary dump was worth it. The salary dump will now give the Lakers the freedom to go after big named free agents.
The Lakers also added some serious talent at the center position in this trade.
Brook Lopez will be joining the Los Angeles Lakers, coming over from the Brooklyn Nets who will leave as their franchise leader in points scored. Lopez immediately becomes the Lakers primary target to score in the post, something that has been lacking since Pau Gasol left the team.
Lopez’s offensive skill set is incredible. He was able to average 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 34.6% from the three-point line. Centers that can stretch the floor with their shooting ability are becoming more and more important with how the game is played these days, and Lopez immediately becomes the stretch 5 that coach Luke Walton was looking for.
Besides his shooting ability, Lopez has a great touch around the rim and excellent feet work. Lopez is also a decent passer and can make the right pass out of a double team. Areas in which hopefully Brook Lopez can show improvement with a change of scenery are rebounding and defense.
Lopez is also an expiring contract that will expire at the end of the 2018 season. The Lakers will be able to get a long look at him to see if he is a player they would like to keep long term. If not, his contract would not interfere with their plans in the summer of 2018.
The Lakers were also able to land the 27th overall pick in this years draft, which means they got another asset going forward. It is very possible though that this pick might be on the move.
If the Lakers were able to pull this trade off, it would make the trading away off D’Angelo Russell more tolerable for Lakers fans. They would be getting two veteran players to help them win now in Paul George and Brook Lopez, while only trading away Russell, Clarkson and two late first-round picks.
Now if the Lakers are not able to trade the 27th pick away, they could use it to fill some needs that they have. With potential rookies such as Jordan Bell, Semi Ojeleye, Frank Jackson and Josh Hart possibly being available around this time, this pick that they got from the Nets will have value.
While this trade only involved the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers, the biggest loser from this trade is the Boston Celtics. With the addition of Brook Lopez and the likely selection of Lonzo Ball at point guard with the #2 pick, it doesn’t seem that the Lakers will be a bottom 5 team next year. This means that the Celtics would not receive the Lakers 2018 first round pick, which is a bummer for the Celtics since next years draft class is loaded with talent.
This deal, while being unpopular to many Lakers fans, seems like the first of many that will be made to win now. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have now made it clear that they want to get back to there winning ways soon. One thing is for certain, when the Lakers make a move, the entire NBA world is watching.