The NBA Draft is this Thursday, June 22. The L.A. Lakers have the second pick in the NBA Draft. I guess, the Lakers weren't happy with just the second pick in the draft. They made a huge trade Tuesday with the Brooklyn Nets. What's crazy is that L.A. doesn't appear to be done wheeling and dealing.
Lakers Trade De'Angelo Russell to Brooklyn
On Tuesday, the Lakers traded point-guard De'Angelo Russell to Brooklyn. What's interesting is that Russell was only in his second season in the NBA. The former Ohio State star had blossomed from his rookie season to his second season.
While in his rookie season Russell averaged 13.3 points per game, in his second season, he averaged 15.6. He averaged 3.3 assists per last season. This season, he averaged 4.8. He even brought his free throw percentage shooting up to 78.2%. All signs point to Russell being even better this season.
The Lakers also traded away Timofey Mozgov.
Brooklyn Unloads Brook Lopez and Nets Round 1 NBA Draft Pick
The Lakers get veteran center Brook Lopez. Brook is a good center. This past season, Lopez averaged 20.5 points, and 5.4 boards per game. But, Lopez's first year in the NBA was the 2008-2009 NBA Season. He's going to be in his 9th year in the league.
I'm not sure what the Lakers get out of Lopez this season. I think the Lakers are much more excited about freeing up cap space to sign Paul George. But, here's the thing, L.A. must find a way to get George into L.A. right away. As Jalen Rose says in this interview on ESPN, the longer the Lakers wait, the more time they give Indiana to trade George.
George is the Prize Not Lonzo Ball
Paul George is the prize. Not Lonzo Ball. Lonzo Ball could turn into a great player. But, if Magic could have his way, George would already be in L.A. In fact, the Lakers let it be known last week that drafting Lonzo Ball with the second pick in Round 1 isn't a done deal.
Some NBA writers believe the Lakers go for point-guard De'Aaron Fox from Kentucky. Fox could work perfectly in coach Luke Walton's Golden State Warrior system. Based on watching both players this past college basketball season, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Lakers pass on Ball.
Ball's a great prospect. But, I'm not sold on his shooting motion. I don't like how his jump shot starts low and then his release is below his head. This is the NBA. A lot of players can block that shot.
Lakers Could Trade Pick 2 for Paul George
There's a good chance that L.A. sends pick 2 to Indiana for Paul George. The Lakers have a decent group of young players even without De'Angelo Russell. If push comes to shove, I think Magic pulls the trigger. L.A., though, would prefer to get George, and then pick either Ball or Fox on Thursday night.