The Los Angeles Lakers saw point guard D’Angelo Russell as the future of the franchise when they drafted him second overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. Two years later, the Lakers decided to head to in a different direction as they traded Russell to the Brooklyn Nets for center Brook Lopez. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers traded Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Lopez, 2016 first-round pick Caris LeVert, and the No.

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27 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Lakers made the move to create salary cap room as they plan to pick UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball at No. 2 to replace Russell as a playmaker. With the trade, the Lakers now have two more picks in the first round at Nos. 27 and 28. The trade helped the Lakers unload the remaining three years and $54 million on Mozgov’s contract. While they gain Lopez’s $22.6 million contract, it will come off the books in 2018.

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After Lopez’s contract is removed from the books, the Lakers will gain $30 million in cap room that summer which they can use to sign big-name free agents, including LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. James reportedly plans to leave the Cavaliers in 2018 and join the Lakers.

Lakers now have a dependable big man in Lopez

With the 7-foot Lopez now in their fold, the Lakers own one of the most dependable centers in the league.

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In his nine seasons with the Nets, Lopez played 562 games, averaging 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Last season, he averaged 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds. Lopez was subject of trade rumors in the past but nothing materialized as the Nets looked for the right offers. In his rookie year, LeVert averaged 8.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 57 games, averaging 21:42 minutes per games.

Nets have new floor general in Russell

In acquiring Russell, the Nets now have a playmaker who averaged 14.3 points and four assists in two seasons with the Lakers.

In his rookie year, Russell averaged 13.2 points, 34 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 80 games. The next season, Russell raised his scoring average to 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists, but the Lakers failed to make it to the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Earlier, LaVar Ball, father of Lonzo, said his son can help end the Lakers’ playoff drought if they will take him with the No. 2 pick.

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Ball played 36 games at UCLA, averaging 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists. With Ball at the helm, the Bruins finished with a 31-5 record after a 15-17 mark the previous season.

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