Whether they pair those latter two (plus a player?) for another lotto pick remains to be seen. They landed another first round pick, a center who can block shots and space the floor and found a home for a contract they couldn't wait to get rid of. "A point guard and I feel like I bring that to the team", Ball said after his first pre-draft workout with the Lakers. Of the 10 players my SCHOENE projection system rates most similar to Russell at the same age, three (Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups and Jrue Holiday) developed into All-Stars, and?
TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota waived center Nikola Pekovic, whose troublesome right foot limited a once-promising career to 271 games with the team over seven seasons. This made sense, Russell is a score first guard and would be better suited at the two alongside a playmaker like Ball.
What the Lakers may have up their sleeves is still relatively unknown, but in Tuesday's trade they dumped a valuable asset, gained another draft pick, and cleared up future cap space - moves that hint at a bigger plan.
George, through his agent Aaron Mintz, had recently informed the Pacers, and other inquiring teams, that he intends to join the Lakers next summer, but prefers a trade to Los Angeles before the season.
Lopez, who had played every one of his 562 National Basketball Association games as a member of the Nets' franchise, will now be much closer to his North Hollywood, California roots. Of course, the Lakers could try to flip Lopez as well, but that seems unlikely. It seems unlikely they would rush to scrap their young nucleus without a clear next step or steps in mind, and they have a better understanding than outsiders how likely it would be for the Ball/Russell pairing to work, and how hard it would be to find a home for Mozgov's cap-crippling contract. The Lakers played better after shutting Mozgov down for the season after the All-Star break, ostensibly to tank. A 6-foot-5 guard with elite court vision and knack for putting the ball in the basket, Russell had nearly all of the tools to make it in Los Angeles. He may not be the franchise player the Lakers were hoping for, but there's enough talent there for Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson to use his player development skills to tap into that unlocked potential which never came out to play under the bright lights of Staples Center in Hollywood.
Howard's averages with the Hawks - 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds - were close to his production in his last of three seasons with Houston in 2015-2016.
Meanwhile, the Nets were able to trade Lopez and his expiring contract for real value. The Lakers secured significant salary cap relief that gives them more than $20 million in purchasing power in the 2018 offseason when Paul George, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook might become available.
The Lakers have jumped into trade talks, as well, in an effort to land George a year before he hits free agency.
I'm not certain that was worth giving up on Russell.