Magic Johnson Knows Exactly What He Is Doing With The D’Angelo Russell Trade.

June 21, 2017

Patience is a virtue.

That being said, it is really no surprise that Laker fans have none whatsoever. After all, we are talking about one of the most spoiled fan bases in NBA history. With 16 NBA titles (technically 17, counting NBL titles) and 31 conference titles, a 4-year playoff drought seems like an eternity in the kingdom of purple and gold. Laker fans are like the kid in the toy store who shouts, “I want it, and I want it now!”

So when Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka decided to trade D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick, many Laker fans were up in arms.

There is no denying, D’Angelo Russell has shown great potential and flashes of excellence throughout his short 2-year stint with the Lakers. As the number 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Russell immediately displayed a knack for scoring the ball. However, it was his court vision and ability to run an offense that got him drafted so high. This was where everyone was wrong, as Russell ended up looking more like a shooting guard than a point guard once he hit the league. So long for “greatest passer since Magic Johnson”, as Louisville coach Rick Pitino once put it.

That should not be a problem, right? At 6’5″, D’Angelo Russell has the size to play the two. And with the Lakers projected to draft Lonzo Ball with the 2nd pick in the upcoming draft, Russell and Ball actually seemed like a potentially exciting backcourt.. a pairing Laker fans were anxious to see.

The big question was whether D’Angelo Russell was willing to slide to the shooting guard position. In late May, he liked a tweet which insinuated that the Lakers drafting UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball would be a bad idea with Russell still on the team. Considering Russell’s awful social media history, you would think he would display more awareness in how he handled himself on Twitter. In fact, his attitude has been the biggest knock on him from the moment he put on his number 1 Lakers jersey. Would he ever grow up? In the 2 years with the organization, his childish demeanor and lack of focus have put him in the doghouse with both of his head coaches. His goofy personality had many questioning whether he was right for a leadership role. He is only 21 years old, so that is not to say he will never mature, but he clearly has a ways to go.

Then why was this a good trade?

For beginners, Lakers were able to rid themselves of Timofey Mozgov’s ridiculous contract, where he was owed $48,000,000 over the next 3 years. By creating salary-cap space, the front office has made it possible for free agents to sign with the Lakers for a max contract- and they will. Whether it be Paul George, who voiced his preference of playing for the Lakers, or someone else, this creates a flexibility the Lakers simply did not have prior to the trade. In essence, this is the move that sets up the big splash.

Would D’Angelo Russell and Lonzo Ball have been able to make something work? We will never know. But at least now the Lakers do not have to endure the potential struggles of the two point guards trying to figure out how to work together. We know who will be running the offense, and that will be none other than Ball, who carries himself as a leader and, unlike Russell, is considered the consummate point guard.

Aside from the cap space flexibility and the dismissal of potential chemistry issues, the acquisition of Brook Lopez is better than most realize. We are talking about a still-in-his-prime all-star center who can score in the post with the best of them, who just added range to his game, all while being a solid defender at the rim. Lopez is no slouch, and while he may end up being a 1-year rental, he can provide some much needed front court depth for the Lakers in the upcoming season.

The icing on the cake is the 27th overall pick in this years draft.. While a pick in the late 20s may seem too late to draft a quality player, in today’s NBA, there are so many prospects available that the 27th pick could turn out to be a solid contributor, or perhaps even a gem. Just in the last few years, Rudy Gobert and Larry Nance were selected 27th overall. Perhaps the Lakers may not even use the pick to draft a player, but rather throw it in a package deal for a draft day trade. Either way, the 27th pick in today’s NBA is an asset.

When it is all said and done, the move coming up next will be the move that puts this one in perspective.

A little more patience is all it is going to take, Laker fans.

The wait for a magician to a pull a rabbit out of his hat is nearing its end.

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Sadly, Russell's time on the Lakers was over the moment that Swaggy P video was out.

Hack Wilson - real

Lakers knew he was trash