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Lakers are trading Tim Mozgov and D'Angelo Russell to Nets for Brook Lopez and 27th pick Thursday, sources say.

IN star Paul George has long nursed a desire to return to his native Southern California to suit up for the Lakers, while LeBron James leads the list of potential free agents who could be intrigued by the chance to form a super-team in Hollywood in 2018.

On Tuesday, another domino fell, this time involving the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets. Many have speculated in recent weeks that the Lakers would draft Ball given the fact that Ball grew up in California and played at UCLA.

All things considered, the Lakers could have done worse with the trade.

"Not only is there no guarantee he's coming back, I'm not sure there's an expectation he's re-signing there", Wojnarowski said.

The Lakers now have a few potential futures.

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Mozgov, a 30-year-old center, has career averages of 7 points and 5 rebounds a game. Shedding Mozgov's contract - you know, the four-year, $64 million albatross that still gives Lakers fans nightmares - will make it easier for Magic Johnson et al to afford Paul George.

ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne reported today on Twitter that the Lakers were asking for a lottery pick in this draft but was unable to find a taker for Russell.

Lopez's deal expires next summer ($22 million). He held opponents to 47.0 percent shooting within five feet as a primary defender last season, per SportVU tracking on NBA.com/Stats, putting him just outside the league's top 10 and far better than Mozgov (53.4 percent) or any other Lakers player.

That was when Philadelphia and Boston completed the deal that sent the No. 1 overall pick to the 76ers - giving them the chance to take Markelle Fultz, and allowing the Celtics to choose likely either Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson at No. 3, which they got in the swap. You have to imagine that if Dallas wanted to make Russell their starting point guard moving forward that they could have made this happen to some degree. Not only did the new Los Angeles Lakers front office regime of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka steal the best player, but they gave the Nets a redundant one, as well a substandard center with a frightful contract. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson is known for his player development and his work with lead guards, like Jeremy Lin, and he should be able to invest all of next season-and beyond-on helping craft Russell into a pick-and-roll maestro and lead scoring option. With him gone it now clears the way for REAL free agents to take a hard look at the Lakers. With this trade- the Lakers now have the necessary pieces. Aside from being the franchise player - despite the bad sports times for the Brooklyn - the interior has already added nine campaigns in the team, becoming one of the most recognizable faces when one thinks of the last times of the organization.

The first indication of the move was dropped by National Basketball Association reporter extraordinaire Adrian Worjnarowski, whose reporting has now become an adjective for reporting know as the "Woj Bomb".


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