The Los Angeles Lakers trading D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for veteran center Brook Lopez and a first-round draft pick has been made official. News of the blockbuster deal surfaced two days ago but was made official by the team during the NBA Draft on Thursday.
The Lakers Twitter account announced the news as the team drafted Kyle Kuzma out of Utah with the 27th pick in the first round:
OFFICIAL: Lakers acquire Brook Lopez and 27th overall draft pick Kyle Kuzma in a trade with Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/CKG5RPlDc6
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 23, 2017
Although many expected the new Lakers regime to make some trades this summer, dealing Russell right out of the gate for a veteran center and a draft pick was a bit surprising. Shedding Mozgov’s salary was a step in the right direction as it gives the team more flexibility with their cap space, but using Russell to make the move still has some wondering what’s next.
All the speculation heading into the draft on Thursday was centered around Paul George and what seems to be the inevitable arrival of the superstar in Los Angeles. George, however, wasn’t traded before the trade nor in the first round despite rumors of the Boston Celtics potentially making a strong play for the perennial All-Star.
As it stands, the Lakers got their man in Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick and have brought in an upgrade the center position with Lopez as well as a talented young player in Kuzma. Where the team goes from here is anyone’s guess, but there could be more fireworks on the horizon.