AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers acquired Lopez and the No. 27 pick in last week’s draft from Brooklyn, while also ridding themselves of an expensive contract (Timofey Mozgov’s three-year, $48 million deal) and parting ways with a young player who received mixed reviews about his potential and maturity (third-year guard D’Angelo Russell).“A lot of those emotions turned into general excitement with this opportunity to come back home and chance to lead the franchise back to success,” said Lopez, citing the team’s young roster and Coach Luke Walton. “I want to be out there teaching the young guys and being a guy that Luke can rely on and do whatever he asks.”Though the Lakers primarily made the move to create more salary-cap flexibility to pursue some of the league’s biggest stars when they become free agents next summer, Pelinka stressed the Lakers also made the move because of Lopez.“It’s about this phenomenal human being and player that we’re so excited to have join the Lakers,” Pelinka said. “Brook Lopez is exactly the type of individual and NBA player that we targeted to be a core part about what we’re trying to build here.”So even if Lopez’s expiring $21 million contract gives the Lakers flexibility in cap space and a possible trade prospect, Pelinka stressed this goes beyond dollars and cents. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “We feel very strongly he’s worth every dollar he’s negotiated to play this season,” Pelinka said. “He backs it with his actions.”Lopez has done that several ways.He remained one of the NBA’s most productive centers last season in points (20.5), shooting percentage (47.4) and rebounds (5.4), but he also shot 34.6 percent from 3-point range (seventh best among NBA starting centers) on a league-leading 387 attempts among starting centers. Pelinka reported that Lopez is the “third player in NBA history to make 100 3-pointers and have 120 blocked shots (in a season).”Lopez contended “it was something I felt like I could always do,” saying that he spent his childhood hoisting 3-pointers as a way to counteract his two older brothers playing physical inside. Brooks estimated working more on his outside shooting in the past five or six seasons, but he did not always feel comfortable taking more on a franchise that made several coaching changes. He attributed his breakout to the system of Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson.“I’m glad he had the confidence in me,” Lopez said of Atkinson. “I’ve always felt I can do it. That’s something I’m going to be doing to help the team.”Lopez should get opportunities. He represents the kind of stretch-five Walton wants in a system he has tried to model after Golden State’s offense, which relies on ball movement, floor spacing and outside shooting.“It’s a perfect fit,” Pelinka said. “I think he’s a perfect road map to our next generation of centers here, too.”Pelinka added that Lopez could “become the North Star” for second-year center Ivica Zubac and rookie center Thomas Bryant.“I was impressed, honestly. I saw a lot of potential,” Lopez said of Zubac before praising his footwork, shooting and touch. “Being in here the past three days, seeing his work ethic and work regimen, I’ve been pretty blown away. I think the sky is the limit for him as long as he keeps that same mentality and ethic.”Pelinka already has seen that. He noted that few max-contract players, such as Lopez, immediately report to the practice facility. As the Lakers researched his injury history, Pelinka became impressed with how Lopez adjusted his training regimen to compensate for foot injuries that derailed him in previous seasons.“I wouldn’t say I need a minutes restriction or anything like that. But it’s also about understanding playing loads,” Lopez said. “I’m happy to play however much Luke wants me to play. If Luke wants to play me 48 minutes, thank you Luke. I’m down for that.”Lopez offered more self-deprecating humor. Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. had a memorable dunk over Lopez last season, and Lopez argued Nance was snubbed when the NBA Awards show did not select his play for “Dunk of the Year.”“I thought it was impressive. I think I got a better view of it than anyone,” Lopez said. “When he introduced himself, I told him, there obviously was no introduction necessary. I would vote that for dunk of the year. At least I get to be a part of it then.”Now, Lopez is a part of the Lakers, eager to help his team with more than cap flexibility.“Brook is going to be a key leader for us to help these young men grow to be great NBA players,” Pelinka said. “We don’t see next year at all as a rebuilding year. We see next year as a Lakers year. A lot of that is going to be centered around him and what he stands for and what we know he’ll give to the organization.”AlsoThe Lakers exercised a $1.3 million team option that will keep second-year guard David Nwaba for the 2017-18 season. … Lakers assistant Jud Buechler will be the team’s summer league coach, according to league sources. EL SEGUNDO – As he clutched the Lakers jersey in front of him, Brook Lopez conveyed the kind of enthusiasm usually reserved for rookies instead of nine-year NBA veterans.Lopez remarked to Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka that it was a “dream” to wear a purple and gold uniform. He had grown up in North Hollywood. He is well-versed in the 1980s “Showtime” era that included five NBA titles and the Shaq-Kobe tandem that won three from 2000-2002. Robin Lopez, Brook’s twin brother who plays for Chicago, has Byron as his middle name, a nod to former “Showtime” guard and Lakers coach Byron Scott.“We’re a Lakers family,” Lopez said.So before his introductory news conference on Wednesday at the Lakers’ practice facility, Lopez told Pelinka that this moment “was draft night all over again.” The reasons went beyond childhood nostalgia. After being the subject of trade rumors throughout his nine-year NBA career with the Brooklyn Nets, Lopez finally became part of an actual trade.