D'Angelo Russell is on his way out of LA, as the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly packaged the 21-year-old and Timofey Mozgov’s awful contract into a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. In exchange for Russell and Mozgov, the Lakers will receive Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Lakers dumped $54 million in salary thanks to Mozgov’s deal coming off the books and Lopez only has one year and $22.6 million left on his contract. That would clear a ton of cap space for Los Angeles next summer when they clearly intend to pursue Paul George and possibly make a move for LeBron James.
Lopez is 29, and averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 blocks during the 2016-17 season. The Los Angeles native posted a PER of 20.48, which continued a steady decline since his career peak of 25.50 from the 2013-14 season. Still, this is a great deal for the Lakers.
In addition to Lopez, the Lakers got the 27th pick in Thursday night’s draft, which means they now have No. 2 plus 27 and 28 in the first round. They are rumored to be angling to move up for a second lottery pick, and adding the 27th selection should help them do that. A package of 27 and 28 plus a player could easily get them back into the top 10 to 15.
Of course, this move also all but ensures Los Angeles will select Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick.
The Nets get D’Angelo Russell, a guy who had some amazing moments but could never find consistency with the Lakers. The No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Russell languished in Byron Scott’s doghouse as a rookie and became a turnover machine in Luke Walton’s up-tempo style in 2016-17.
The Nets just got a player they can build around and the change of scenery might help him Russell find some consistency.