The NBA offseason is already dominating the headlines of the sports world. On June 20, it was announced the Los Angeles Lakers were trading guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timothy Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for center Brook Lopez. Later in the day, it was reported that the Atlanta Hawks were trading center Dwight Howard and the 2017 No. 31 overall pick to the Charlotte Hornets for guard Marco Belenelli, center Miles Plumlee and the 2017 No. 41 overall pick.
The Lakers made the best trade out of all the participating teams. Russell is a player very similar to the projected Lakers draft pick Lonzo Ball. Los Angeles is not only in the position to pick a point guard with a potentially higher ceiling than Russell, but the team also unloaded the remaining three years of Mozgov’s four-year, $64 million contract signed last summer. He made $16 million last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds for the year. Lopez has been one of the league’s best big men since he entered the league in 2008. Last season, Lopez averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks a game for the Nets.
The Hawks made the worst trade of the day. Trading Howard makes sense, as the new team general manager Travis Schlenk said building a championship contender takes years, years Howard would’ve only wasted in the twilight of his career. However, Atlanta didn’t get much value out of a player that averaged 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds a game last season. Swapping the No. 31 pick for No. 41 also isn’t the ideal move to make for a team trying to rebuild through the draft. The Hornets, on the other hand, acquire Howard in a low-risk move. Howard said he’s working hard this summer so his game can fit into today’s NBA and prolong his career. Charlotte isn’t a team with high expectations, and this move can push them back into the playoffs next season.