As Lakers fans awaited a trade to bring in Paul George to the team, another one broke.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Lakers are trading third-year guard D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets. In return, they will acquire center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Lakers are trading Tim Mozgov and D'Angelo Russell to Nets for Brook Lopez and 27th pick Thursday, sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017
The news comes just one day after Wojnarowski reported that the team is not yet trying to dump the salaries of Mozgov and Luol Deng. While not a straight salary dump, the Lakers clearly felt the need to move on from Mozgov and acquire a more formidable center.
Lopez averaged 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season while hitting 34.6 percent of his 5.2 three-point attempts per game. He is on an expiring deal, meaning if the experiment goes awry, the Lakers can move on from the center to clear up more cap space for next summer when both George and LeBron James are free agents.
Mozgov was benched to finish the year as the Lakers turned their focus on development.
Russell, who has had an up-and-down first two seasons in Los Angeles, seems to be the price the Lakers are paying to shore up their back line. While the point guard showed high promise and progress, there were whispers that the team did not view him as a sure-fire part of their future.
The Lakers also receive the 27th overall pick (they already held the 28th pick). It’s unclear if they will use it to draft one of the many players they’ve worked out over the past month or if they will use it as part of a larger trade to get George.