Los Angeles Lakers Trade D’Angelo Russell: Why the Deal Makes Sense

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LOS ANGELES, USA - JANUARY 08 : D'Angelo Russell (R) of Los Angeles Lakers in action against Elfrid Payton (L) of Orlando Magic during a NBA game between Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic at Staples Center in Los Angeles, USA on January 08, 2017. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers traded guard D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets. The deal saw the Lakers acquire star big man Brook Lopez, whilst sending center Timofey Mozgov the other way. In the three-player trade, the Lakers also received the 27th pick in this year’s draft. This is a trade that has positives for both teams. The Nets land a promising young player, in an attempt to help revive a lackluster franchise. Whereas the Lakers shed cap space, space that could be useful down the line.

Los Angeles Lakers Trade D’Angelo Russell

Why the Lakers Made This Trade

The Lakers made this trade for one key reason. Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka are trying to free up cap space going forward. In this trade, Mozgov heads to Brooklyn. Mozgov was set to earn $16 million next season. This was a major stumbling block for the Lakers and their pursuit of big-name free agents. The Lakers have paid the price for signing such an inadequate player, to such a large contract. That price comes in the shape of Russell. In order to free up that space, the team had to give up a promising young asset. So, both teams benefit, however, Nets fans will probably be the happier at this point in time.

Showing the potential to be a future All-Star, the former No.2 overall pick has made good strides and showed gradual improvement over his first two seasons in the NBA. Despite the controversy of his first year in LA, Russell proved he can be a mature team player, showing signs of growth on and off the court.

Brooklyn Lands its Guard of the Future

Fans in Los Angeles have been split on Russell ever since he was drafted. Some doubted his maturity or whether or not he was a franchise guard. Brooklyn has been looking to recover from the mess it made of the Boston trade in 2013, and Russell is a key piece in doing so. The Celtics own the Nets pick once again this year, so it’s clear why Sean Marks made this deal happen. If you can’t add quality young talent in the draft, you’ll just have to find it elsewhere. Russell fits the bill for Brooklyn, which is exactly why the Nets we’re willing to take on Mozgov’s contract.

With Jeremy Lin still on the Nets books, it’s not out of the question that we see Russell slip into the shooting guard role in Brooklyn. Capable of playing either guard spot, Russell will force head coach Kenny Atkinson to make a decision on where he plays. The Nets have just added the first piece, to a team that appears to have a bright future.

Trading Mozgov Opens up Options for the Lakers

Rumors of a Paul George trade have begun to rapidly heat up in recent days. The Lakers have become unnerved by the interest of several different teams. However, one team has sent shockwaves through Los Angeles. The Cleveland Cavaliers have entered the sweepstakes for the Pacers star. This has led to the Lakers taking action, with the Russell trade being the first step. Clearing Mozgov’s contract opens up options for the Lakers, in terms of trades and free agents signings.

The George trade is now a lot more realistic, with the Lakers regaining cap and adding a veteran. George has already indicated that he wants out, meaning a good deal for the Lakers is on the cards. Expect the Lakers to pull the trigger on this and take yet another significant step to once again becoming a contender. Now, George may be an All-Star but he may not be the only game changer the Lakers will make a move for.

Does this Guarantee Lonzo Ball will Become a Laker?

Effectively yes. Unless the Lakers hierarchy has someone else in mind, Lonzo Ball will be a Laker. Ball and the Lakers just keep on ending up in the same sentences. The rumor mill has been turning for a while now, with the team finally set to make the UCLA guard the No.2 overall pick.

For more on Ball, check out his NBA draft profile.

Is This the Beginning of a Pursuit for LeBron James?

Now, if the Lakers are going to go big, they should go really big, LeBron James big. Signing the NBA’s best player may seem like a long shot, but this latest move by the Lakers could be the first step. The Lakers free up cap space, meaning they can sign two free agents to max deals next off-season. George and James can be those two signings. Both players have the motivation to join the Lakers. For George, it’s coming home and LeBron can continue to expand his ever growing brand.

If the Lakers can make these deals happen it would be monumental for the franchise. Tuesday may have been the beginning of a new future for a struggling organization looking for a new lease of life.

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