EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Brook Lopez is much more to the Los Angeles Lakers than a big man with a big salary.
The Lakers acquired the 7-foot Lopez from Brooklyn last week, giving up promising guard D’Angelo Russell in a trade primarily designed to rid Los Angeles of the three remaining years on Timofey Mozgov’s onerous $64 million contract.
Lopez is getting more than $22.6 million next season in the final year of his deal, making him a necessary salary match for the trade. Yet the Lakers also coveted Lopez for his size, veteran leadership and newly revealed 3-point shooting ability as they rebuild the franchise on the ruins of four consecutive losing seasons.
“He has adapted to the new style of play in the NBA,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said Wednesday while introducing Lopez at their training complex. “We don’t see next year at all…