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Grading the trades of D’Angelo Russell, Dwight Howard

The NBA offseason is in full swing, with teams preparing for tonight’s NBA Draft and next month’s free agency bonanza. After the blockbuster trade that sent the Boston Celtics’ number one overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, there have been three intriguing deals already made. Let’s recap them and take a look at who made out the best.

Trade #1: The Los Angeles Lakers trade PG D’Angelo Russell and C Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for C Brook Lopez and the 27th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft: The Lakers have been looking to clear out the awful Mozgov contract for some time and are able to deal him to the Nets. The real prize of the deal however is Russell, who will absolutely start for the Nets and could provide terrific value.

Brooklyn will be stuck with Mozgov for the next three years, but it could be well worth it down the line. On the other hand, the Lakers secure yet another pick in their tear down, while also upgrading their front court with versatile big man Brook Lopez. The Lakers appear poised for a 2018 turnaround if they can set themselves up for big name free agents like LeBron James and Paul George.

Verdict: Lakers – B+, Nets – B+

Trade #2: The Charlotte Hornets acquire C Dwight Howard and the 31st overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft for SG Marco Belineli, C Miles Plumlee and the 41st overall pick: The Hawks become the most recent team to elect to move on from Howard after just one season in his hometown of Atlanta. The Hornets are able to move up 10 spots in the draft for taking on the deal, and put together an intriguing big man combo with Cody Zeller.

The Hawks clear some cap room and set themselves up to potentially retain Paul Millsap in free agency. However, the cap space wasn’t enough, and moving down 10 picks is a heavy price to pay to clear Howard.

Verdict: Hornets – B, Hawks – C-

Trade #3: The Washington Wizards acquire PG Tim Frazier from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the 52nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft: The Wizards solve their problem at backup point guard by absorbing the cheap Tim Frazier for just a second round pick. Frazier will replace Brandon Jennings for about the same level of production.

The Pelicans, on the other hand, clear some space to make a play for some bigger name free agents. The return on Frazier seems a little bit light, but overall the deal makes sense for both teams involved.

Verdict: Wizards – A-, Pelicans – B