By Byron Evans – @Bevans1985 – Follow me on twitter.
Today Magic traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov for the 27th pick in this years draft and Brook Lopez. Let’s analyze why this is a great trade for the Lakers, and a good trade for the Nets as well.
Lets start with the Nets. Brook Lopez was entering the last year of his contract, and while nobody knows for sure, a betting man would bet he wasn’t going to return to a team with no chance of competing for many years, especially considering he’s already 29 years old.
The Nets don’t have the draft picks over the next few years to get a star, so trading a guy, who was going to leave anyways, for a guy who could be a star in the future, is the best case scenario for them. Taking on the contract of Timofey Mozgov is irrelevant, they aren’t going to be good until after his contract is up anyways.
Now lets get to the Lakers. The Lakers needed to move D’Angelo Russell if they are going to take Lonzo Ball in the draft, and all signs point to them doing just that, so getting a guy of Brook Lopez stature while also getting out from under Timofey Mozgovs’ terrible contract is great for the Lakers.
You can only keep so many young players if your goal is to clear enough cap space for 2 max guys, like Lebron James and Paul George, so somebody has to go. Word is that the Lakers are high on Brandon Ingram and whomever they pick in this years draft with the second pick, so that means everyone is fair game. The Lakers are ready to start competing again, they don’t want to wait another 4-5 years for all these young guys to develop.
Brook Lopez is a good piece for the Lakers in the future. This guy can score, and he can space the floor, which makes him a good fit in today’s NBA. He is the kind of guy who can punish the Warriors down low, which is a concern for any team right now. He also could be signed for less money than he makes right now in his next contract, hypothetically, which would make his contributions even more valuable.
Getting out from under Timofey Mozgovs’ contract is a great thing for the Lakers. This allows them more cap space in the next few years so they can go after guys like Paul George and Lebron James. They could even let Brook Lopez walk in order to have more cap space.
The 27th pick could end up being more than another young player, it could be a way to get Paul George now. Normally a team could get a kings’ ransom for a guy like Paul George, but considering he’s already stated he’s leaving, the Pacers don’t have a lot of leverage. Getting the 27th and the 28th picks in this years draft, along with Jordan Clarkson and and/or Julius Randle, might be the best they can get right now. In order to match salaries, the Lakers might also be able to get rid of their other terrible contract in Luol Deng.
The only negative for the Lakers is they may be giving up on a potential star in D’Angelo Russell a little to soon, but sometimes you have to give up good talent in order to move forward and get great talent. Plus, Magic Johnson was a point guard, so I trust his judgement when it comes to other point guards.
This is just a start, but so far Magic Johnson is doing a great job towards moving the Lakers back towards respectability a lot faster than a lot of us expected. Let’s see what’s next.
What do you guys think of the job Magic has done so far ? Debate me.