The Lakers and Nets have reportedly cut a major deal ahead of the draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in the draft, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Los Angeles holds the No. 2 pick in the draft and has been strongly linked to Lonzo Ball, in addition to their reported pursuit of Paul George via trade.
The deal sheds the Lakers of Mozgov’s unwieldy contract, which pays him $37.5 million over the next three seasons, but also sees Russell, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, depart. Still just 21 years old, Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists per game last season.
Lopez had been the Nets’ top player for the past several seasons and averaged 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. He will presumably slide into a starting center role in Los Angeles. He has $22.6 million remaining on the final year of his contract.
The deal clears long-term cap space for the Lakers and positions them to make a big offer to George or another free agent next off-season. Wojnarowki reports the Lakers could be angling for George and LeBron James, and are likely to draft Ball at No. 2. The Lakers also hold the No. 28 pick in the first round, giving them back to back selections.
The Nets still hold pick No. 22, and receive a young building block to pair with Caris LeVert, who is seen as one of the team’s foundational pieces.