Lakers trading D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn Nets

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Brook Lopez

In what might be a brilliant move — or the latest folly — it is being widely reported the Los Angeles Lakers are in the process of trading point guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for center Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. With Russell moved out the Lakers can make room for the possibility of drafting UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball and with Mozgov, who carries a $64 million contract, off the roster it makes some room for a “max” free agent — like Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. George has already expressed an interest in playing for the Lakers.

Russell who is 21 years old, averaged 15.5 points and 4.8 assists last season. Lopez, who is 29, averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 blocks. With a good point guard like Ball, a solid center like Lopez could be what the team needs to get back to the playoffs. If Los Angeles does acquire Paul George, they would instantly have an All-Star front court. Last season George average 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He’s been in the league for six years so he he would bring a lot of experience to the Lakers.

The Lakers have already been talking to Indiana about trading for George, possibly giving up forward Julius Randle in a trade, despite the fact the George will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season. George is from Palmdale so the Lakers are one of his hometown teams. The other hometown team, the Clippers, have also engaged in talks with the Pacers concerning the forward, but George has his heart set on the Lakers.

Timofey Mozgov

What the Pacers want for their All Star forward though is too steep a price for the Lakers: that is the #2 over all pick in the coming draft. They Lakers have said they are not willing to give it up. One way or another Paul George is going to end up in a Lakers uniform. The only question is when?

When the trade with Brooklyn is finished the Nets will definitely get a better player in D’Angelo Russell than what they could expect with the 27th pick over all in the draft.

Earlier this year the Lakers hired Earvin “Magic” Johnson to be the President of Basketball Operations and his stated goal was to make the Lakers one of the elite teams in the NBA. They also hired Kobe Bryant’s former agent Rob Pelinka (Landmark Sports Agency) to be the team’s general manager, replacing Mitch Kupchak.

Photos by Claudia Gestro
Top photo: D’Angelo Russell