Lakers draft Moritz Wagner with No. 25 pick

Paul George and Le Bron James are both top of the Lakers list in free agency

Paul George and Le Bron James are both top of the Lakers list in free agency

More so than any single basketball skill, the Lakers fell in love with Wagner's personality during pre-draft interviews and workouts. It has been a hard process for the Lakers to get up from under that deal over the last several months, but have been unable to work out a trade.

The Lakers came into the 2018 NBA Draft with a roster boasting an already robust crop of young talent, highlighted by the last two No. 2 overall picks in Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, plus 2017 steals Kyle Kuzma (27) and Josh Hart (30). Pelinka mentioned how Wagner's "spirit" and "charisma" positively affects his teammates.

Wagner played in the youth system of German pro team ALBA Berlin before MI coach John Beilein traveled to Europe on a one-day recruiting trip and persuaded him to head for Ann Arbor. Coach (Luke) Walton used to play as well, so he's a players' coach, and he wants his players to make plays, be confident. "We felt like with the two players that we selected tonight in the draft that we added shooting and guys that know how to play the game the right way". He's just going to do his job and embrace it he said after getting the call from Pelinka.

Los Angeles went 35-47 a year ago, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

It's easy to happy for Wagner. The Lakers are reportedly pursuing Cleveland's LeBron James to join the team this summer, and there's talk that it's Los Angeles or the Cavs for the world's best player. "But we can control the environment we have here and creating energy where great players will want to be Lakers". Pelinka, who played for Michigan from 1988 to 1993, joked that he "will forever be accused of having a Michigan Wolverine bias", before citing Wagner's underrated abilities as a passer and screener.

Wagner, as the No. 25 pick, should expect a two-year guaranteed contract worth more than $3 million total, according to the website RealGM.

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