The Los Angeles Lakers have finally gotten clear of a bad contract but have to give up a piece of their young core to do it.
In a story by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers agreed to a cap-clearing trade that will send point guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets. In return, the Lakers will get center Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick in the draft.
The deal clears the way for the Lakers to draft UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick and gives them the Nos. 27 and 28 selections in the draft.
The trade also allows the Lakers to shed the three years and $54 million left on Mozgov’s contract, and they gain Lopez’s expiring $22.6 million deal. With Lopez’s contract coming off the books in 2018, the Lakers are expected to have $30 million in cap room that summer.
The Nets had been targeting Russell and see him as a cornerstone guard to anchor the franchise’s rebuild along with 2016 first-round pick Caris LeVert. Russell was drafted No. 2 overall in 2015 and averaged 14.3 points and four assists in two seasons with the Lakers.
Brooklyn will have $30 million in cap room this summer.
For the Lakers, the move is part of a long-term play to clear space for Paul George, who has expressed a desire to play for Los Angeles, and pursue LeBron James, who is expected to be a free agent in 2018.