The Los Angeles Lakers will trade former No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell, likely to clear space for Indiana Pacers star Paul George.
Earlier today, the Lakers were rumored to be shopping Russell for a Top 12 draft pick. But ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports teams weren’t interested because they figured the Lakers would draft Ball at No. 2 overall, which would diminish his value.
Los Angeles cleared $54 million in cap space by including Timofey Mozgov in a trade with the Nets for Brook Lopez, who has an expiring contract. Once his contract elapses, the Lakers will have between $37 and $49 million in cap space. But the front office is likely not done trying to make moves.
While Brandon Ingram is considered “untouchable” and the front office is not keen on trading the No. 2 pick, another package could help land George from the Pacers.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports the Lakers are “trying” to trade for George in exchange for the No. 27 and No. 28 picks as well as either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson. Brad Turner from the L.A. Times added the team has made this offer and Mark Medina from L.A. Daily News confirmed.
Without both Clarkson and Randle, the Lakers could stretch the contract of Luol Deng and have $64 million in cap space after next season. This would be enough for two max deals, likely George and LeBron James.
Because the Lakers now have enough cap room for George, other franchises may realize he will likely end up in Los Angeles and just as a rental for their team.
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