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NBA Nets Brook Lopez

Lakers Land Brook Lopez From The Nets For Russell

The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t wasting time trying to get better fast as they ship D’Angelo Russell and veteran Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn for the Nets one-time All-Star and leading scorer Brook Lopez plus the 27th pick in this year’s draft.

The trade sheds a ton of guaranteed future salary commitments by the Lakers who acquire Lopez’s expiring $22.6 million deal, although he won’t be cheap to re-sign next season assuming they want to keep this very effective offensive center who averaged over 20 points per game last year.

Mozgov is guaranteed $15.3 million next season and has two more years remaining after that at $16 million and $16.7 million. He wasn’t exactly productive in L.A. last year averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20.4 minutes over 54 games.

Russell just finished his second season and shows promise if he can stay on the court. He averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 28.7 minutes over 63 games. He shot 35.2 percent from three on 6.1 attempts demonstrating what has become perhaps the most sought after skill in a young guard.

The move clears the way for the Lakers to add a starting point guard with the second overall pick in this year’s draft, possibly Lonzo Ball and if they choose not to re-sign Lopez, they’ll have a ton of salary cap space next year with which to fantasize about LeBron James and Paul George in their free agent summers.

 

It’s worth noting that Lopez shot 34.6 percent from three on 5.2 attempts last year and that was the first time in his nine year career that he played as a stretch-five. If he can keep that up, the Lakers would be foolish to just turf him for extra salary cap space at the end of next season.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.