The Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night during the 2017 NBA Draft that officially announced the multi-player trade that sent guard D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets.
The deal had originally been agreed upon on Tuesday afternoon that saw Russell and center Timofey Mozgov moved to the Nets in exchange for center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft that was used on Utah forward Kyle Kuzma.
Kuzma is coming off a strong junior campaign where he averaged a near double-double with 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, which were both inside the top five in the Pac-12.
The 21-year-old has a unique skill set at his size standing at 6-foot-9 and 221 pounds while displaying some ball-handling ability. Kuzma proved to be a strong asset in transition with his ability to run the floor in transition while finish above the rim that could be utilized well in the Lakers’ uptempo offense.
Although the Lakers are departing with one of their young core pieces in Russell after just two seasons, the trade could help the team in several different areas. It allows the team to get Mozgov’s contract off the books as he was owed $48 million over the next three years.
Los Angeles also acquires a quality big man with Lopez, who was able to operate as more of a stretch center last season with vastly improved his ability shoot from the outside him shooting 34.6 percent from beyond the arc hitting 134-of-387 attempts from distance.
This was a significant increase in shot rate from 3-point range going from 0.2 attempts to 5.2 attempts last season while he had taken no more than 14 shots from downtown in any of his first eight seasons. On top of that, Lopez is set to enter the last year of his deal worth $22.6 million in the 2017-18 campaign that could nearly allow them to ink to max contract players in free agency next summer.