The NBA Draft is closing in on teams this week, but NBA trades are already flying around like a whirlwind. And so have the rumors surrounding several big-name players.
Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets have made deals two days before the draft that will solidify their futures. And possibly set them up for bigger trades on draft night.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers began Tuesday afternoon being linked to the Pacers’ Paul George, but no deal at this point between the two teams. A couple of hours later, Adrian Wojnarowski verified that the team pulled off a different trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017
In need of a big man that is a threat on both ends of the floor, the Lakers acquired Brook Lopez from the Nets for Timofey Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell. The team also received the No. 27 pick from the Nets; giving them three first-round picks. The picks are No. 2, No. 27 and No. 28, according to NBA.com. The question now is what they will do with those picks by Thursday night’s draft. And it also sets them up for a free agency-friendly budget in 2018.
As if the Lakers move wasn’t surprising, the Hornets made a big move as well. The Hornets acquired Dwight Howard and their second-round pick for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the team’s second-rounder. The deal was confirmed by David Aldridge on Twitter.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 21, 2017
Howard spent one season with the Atlanta Hawks and played in 74 games with his hometown team.
The clear winner of these NBA trades has to be the Lakers, but the Hornets made a move that helps them as well. Los Angeles now has several picks at their disposal that could be more appealing to Indiana for George. But Russell is a winner in all of this too; less pressure and more opportunity.
With a couple of days left before the NBA Draft, these moves are likely the precursor to bigger things. And there is also an increased chance in draft night trades taking over the evening.