6/21/17 NBA: Howard, Lopez, Russell Traded

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Hornets Acquire D-12

The Atlanta Hawks trade big man Dwight Howard and the 31st pick in this Thursday’s draft to the Charlotte Hornets, in exchange for center Miles Plumlee, shooting guard Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick.

This was a salary dump for Howard’s hometown Hawks, who is owed $57 million over the next 2 seasons. Howard is still an elite center in today’s game, nearly averaging 14 points on 62% shooting. , 12 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. D-12 has posted a double-double average in all of his 12 years in the league. He is a two-way player that provides rim protection and the interior presence that many teams are looking for.

Belinelli is a rotational guard that will contribute points. Plumlee is a 5th year big that joins his 5th team. His career high of 8 points and 8 rebounds came with the Phoenix Suns in his sophomore season.

MY TAKE: I’m always going to go with the team that lands the best player in a deal. We will soon find out who Atlanta spends that cap space on, whether it be on re-signing Paul Millsap or some other free agent. If I had to project today, I would say that Charlotte finishes with a better record than Atlanta next season.

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Lakers and Nets Trade

Brook Lopez is an elite big man and the centerpiece of this trade. The rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers are hoping that he can help attract free agents, and fill the role vacated by Pau Gasol a few years back. L.A. also receives the 27th overall pick. Lopez will be around for a while, so any other pieces that the team can add will certainly help the Purple & Gold

The Brooklyn Nets acquire guard D’Angelo Russell, along with center Timofey Mozgov. I thought Mozgov played well for the Cleveland Cavaliers once upon a time. As for Russell, whether you consider him a point guard or a shooting guard, it doesn’t really matter. He’s a young guard with talent that has some maturing to do. The former second pick of the draft gets a break from the L.A. spotlight to take the necessary time it takes a young talent to develop. No pressure, really.

MY TAKE: This deal contains one established big man, one rotational big, and a guard with potential. I actually like all three players involved here. It’s a win-win from my perspective. The personalities and talents are now with the teams that they should be playing for.

I’ve been a big fan of Howard and Lopez over the years. I think this big man will finally work out for the Lakers. Russell can score and dish, I think this is a good opportunity for him to take advantage of. Not that the market is small or anything, but playing for a team in constant rebuild will allow him to just play. There’s no L.A. tradition and the pressure that comes with winning.