D’Angelo Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets right before draft night. For what? The Lakers got a few late round draft picks, a 1-year rental of Brook Lopez and unloaded possibly the worst signing of last off-season in Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov signed a four-year, $64 million dollar deal. Was it that bad? Yeah, it was outright awful, and last season proved to be more of the same on the Lakers.
By Offensive Real-Plus Minus, Lakers upgrade from Roy Hibbert (76th out of 76 centers) to Timofey Mozgov (75th)… pic.twitter.com/2Q2XsQXYC3
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) July 1, 2016
We’ve all heard the narrative before, a high lottery pick on a young franchise gets shipped out for no other reason then to move on. Well, and maybe to clear some cap space. Magic Johnson made it very clear that was the reason in his presser
D’Angelo is an excellent player. He has the talent to become an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with.
For a guy who was supposed to become the face of the franchise post-Kobe era, this is major shade. The Lakers passed on Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis because they felt both players didn’t have what it took to become the next great Lakers big man. So they took D’Angleo Russell instead.
Maybe D’Angelo Russell wasn’t meant for the limelight in LA. After all, he did have some pretty immature moments. After he infamously ratted out his teammate Nick Young for cheating on his girlfriend and famous musician Iggy Azalea, the path to destruction was pretty fast. Just ask Kobe.
— AS English (@English_AS) March 8, 2016
The Lakers trade just might be the best thing that could happen for Russell. It was clear the locker room couldn’t build chemistry around him, and while he parts ways he joins a franchise that has been absolutely pillaged with the Brooklyn Nets. Who the hell trades for a bunch of veterans (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams) on terrible contracts for nearly all the first round picks they own for the next decade, including this year’s first-round pick? (Not a decade, but damn does it feel like it!) Now, ownership has turned a new leaf in operations and hired a brand new GM on the rise in Sean Marks. This might be one of many signature moves.
For Brooklyn, they get a former #2 overall pick in an effort to finally say goodbye to an old era and start new. The expectations are low – nobody is expecting Russell to become the next Kobe or Magic. He’s also partnered with one of the best in the game today getting to the rim in Jeremy Lin and one of the best developmental Head Coaches in the league in Kenny Atkinson. The future is bright for the young kid – and there is damn near no pressure to make it.
After all, the Nets aren’t supposed to start their rebuild until they get their draft picks back in 2019. Let the reload begin!