The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly acquired the Brooklyn Nets' center Brook Lopez and their 27th pick in the 2017 NBA draft in exchange for D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov, according to a report from The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. Creating cap space was the end goal of this deal for the Lakers. Lopez is entering his final year of his contract and the Lakers will get rid of the last three years in Mozgov's heavy contract. Will the Lakers set their eyes next on Paul George?

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Brook Lopez a Laker

Brook Lopez is clearly an upgrade over Mozgov at the center position. The former All-Star averaged 20.5 points per game in 29.6 minutes of play. His rebounding numbers were not impressive on the other hand (5.4 rebounds). Lopez has been relatively healthy in recent years (72 games in '14-'15, 73 in '15-'16, and 75 in '16-'17), and when this is the case, few centers in the league can be as dominant in the post. In addition, he added a solid 3-point shot to his repertoire last season (34.6%), and that will come in handy in Luke Walton's system.

Brook Lopez a Laker - Photo via Bryan Horowitz/Flickr - flickr.com
Brook Lopez a Laker - Photo via Bryan Horowitz/Flickr - flickr.com

Lopez can also become a good mentor for the Lakers' young center Ivica Zubac. Lopez might not be a long-term solution for the Lakers because he might walk away next summer, but that would still be good news for them. His departure would create even more cap space for the Lakers, and that will mean they will be able to pursue more than one superstar in the near future.

Mozgov and Deng's contracts were a nightmare for the Lakers. Those contracts were Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak's ticket out of the Lakers.

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Their incompetence in recent years had reached a limit. Magic Johnson jumped into this sinking ship and the first thing he acknowledged was the fact that they had to dump one of these contracts one way or another. Mozgov was going to be owed $48 million over the next three years, and Deng is still owed $54 million over the remaining three years of his contract.

Russell sacrificed

D'Angelo Russell has been the collateral damage, but the Lakers can take the hit as they will bring in another promising point guard tomorrow - Lonzo Ball.

Russell was not that great of a sacrifice if one considers that he has not been able to live up to his potential so far. Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists per game last season. However, he was expected to be a leader at the point guard position. He failed to be one. He was expected to dazzle us consistently with impressive passes. He failed to be that kind of floor general. He was expected to become a solid shooter. He failed in this department as well.

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Russel had a 41 field goal percentage in his rookie season and a 40.5 percentage in the last season.

Russell's progress has clearly not been there. In addition, his defense has been nowhere to be found and his work ethic has been questioned on several occasions. Russell will have a chance to leave the LA drama behind and get a fresh start in Brooklyn. Maybe he does end up being a star in this league, time will tell. What is certain is that time had come for the Lakers to part ways with Russell.

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The Lakers' next step will be to acquire Paul George. The question will be whether it will happen now or next summer. If the Lakers can make a deal happen now, it will probably not be at the expense of the number 2 Draft pick or Brandon Ingram. Thus, the Lakers' potential starting lineup may look very good. Lonzo Ball will run the floor at the point guard position, Ingram and George could be their duo of forwards, and Brook Lopez will be the dominant force in the paint at the center position. The Lakers are coming.

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