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D’Angelo Russell And The Brooklyn Nets: The Nets Won A Trade!

Did the Brooklyn Nets just win a trade?

Did the Brooklyn Nets just make a good move?

Is this going to be one crazy offseason?

Yes on all accounts!

D’Angelo Russell, the 2015 #2 overall pick, who was picked before Kristaps Porzingis, now calls Brooklyn home. The 21-year old point guard will quickly become the face of a franchise that is in the worst state of any team in the league. Despite their draft pick being owned by the Boston Celtics, which was ultimately the #1 overall pick and then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, you can now make the argument they are already one of the biggest winners of the draft.

The Nets will send the 27th pick and  29-year old Brook Lopez, the franchise’s leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker, to the Lakers for Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Lopez recorded 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in his Nets career, averaging over 20 points four times and 19 twice, with one All-Star game appearance.

I guess Lopez will be remembered as a good Net, but a very disappointing one. Lopez never carried the team like a franchise center should. The Nets were a trainwreck besides the early Brooklyn years, so it’s hard to put the blame on him. He should have a promising second half of his career, whether it be with the Lakers or somewhere else. He will be a free agent after next season.


Magic Johnson, in his first offseason as President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, makes his first move of many in order to make the Lakers relevant again. In trading away Russell, he is giving the keys to Lonzo Ball, the super-hyped up UCLA hometown kid, while also clearing the $48 million left on Mozgov’s contract. It’s easy to look into a future that features Paul George donning the purple and gold, but let’s take it one step at a time.

D’Angelo Russell symbolizes that the Nets will maybe become relevant at some point in time soon (that is mouthful but hopefully makes sense). They may have sped up their track to relevancy by one or two years, as you can make the case that if Russell was eligible in this draft, he would be a top 10 pick. He increased in both points and assists in his second season, averaging 15.6 points and 4.8 assists.

He is a step in the right direction of a long road ahead.

Even if Russell doesn’t improve and develop into the point guard many envisioned when he came into the league, the Nets still win this trade. The reality was that Brook Lopez was not going to be back after next season and even if he was eventually going to be traded at the deadline, you probably don’t get the prospect of D’Angelo Russell in return.

In also receiving Timofey Mozgov, the Nets simply went with the “scrub and stud” philosophy. Mozgov, who averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds last season, is owed $48 million over the next three seasons. With essentially no money on the books now that Lopez is gone, it doesn’t affect the team’s cap space or flexibility to make more moves.

It’s simple: the upside of D’Angelo Russell is worth the overpriced contract of Timofey Mozgov.

It’s funny when you can say that the Brooklyn Nets got a legitimate NBA point guard before the New York Knicks did.

Congrats, Nets fans, you finally made a positive basketball move.


About Phil DeMeo

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