The Los Angeles Lakers understood that this week was a transcendent one for the franchise, with the 2017 NBA Draft and a chance to make a splash in the trade market. Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson did just that, with the acquisition of Brook Lopez in the D’Angelo Russell trade.
After a few passing days, the trade became official at the conclusion of the 2017 NBA Draft. The Lakers secured Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma, the 27th pick, for Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Part of Johnson and Pelinka’s plan involved bettering their cap space situation, the key driving factor behind the trade.
At the conclusion of the 2017 NBA Draft, Pelinka addressed the official trade and the results of the draft. When conclusively looking at the results of the trade, Pelinka addressed three key benefits for the organization, via Serena Winters of LakersNation.com:
Rob Pelinka breaking down D'Angelo – BKN trade
1. Got All-Star caliber 5 (Lopez)
2. Salary Cap relief
3. 4 draft picks
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) June 23, 2017
Pelinka and Johnson both have a long-term approach when it comes to the grand scheme of things, prioritizing their cap space situation heading into 2018 free agency. Although departing with Russell was tough, the team was truly alleviated from Mozgov’s contract situation.
The Lakers also were able to expand their involvement in the 2017 NBA Draft, going from two first-round picks to a total of four picks. This also adds to their constant rebuilding process, adding versatile pieces in this new era of the NBA.
Last, but certainly not least, is the All-Star acquisition of Lopez. The Brooklyn Nets all-time leading scorer can take over as a premiere low-post scorer, while he also knocked down (134 on 34.6 percent) about the same number of three pointers as Russell (135 on 35.2 percent).
Pelinka and Johnson have maintained this aggressive approach early on in their tenure, as they attempt to move on from the previous front office group. The Lakers certainly are progressing in the right direction, accumulating young talent and creating cap relief towards signing other NBA stars.