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Brook Lopez’s bittersweet return to L.A.

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Los Angeles Lakers

Brook Lopez was born in North Hollywood, California, part of Los Angeles, and grew up a Lakers fan before he became a Nets player. Now, he’s both a Lakers player and fan.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was introduced as L.A.’s new 5, the centerpiece for the Lakers in last week’s big trade. He talked about a lot of things, from his time in New Jersey and Brooklyn to how impressed he’s been with Lonzo Ball’s court vision.

But mostly it was about emotions.

“I was surprised it was as whirlwind,” Lopez said of last week’s deal that shipped him to the Lakers — along with the Nets’ 27th pick in last week’s draft — in return for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. “I was talking to Rob [Pelinka, Lakers general manager], and I said it was kind of like draft night all over again. It was a mix of emotions, a whirlwind, you’re being whipped around. You’re just trying to find your ground.

“But once I was settled, I think a lot of those emotions just turned into general excitement at this opportunity to come back home and play for a team I grew up cheering for and help lead this franchise back to success. I just want to be out there, teaching the young guys and helping them do whatever I can.”

He admitted playing for so many coaches in New Jersey and Brooklyn —there were nine— made continuity tough, but he praised his final Nets coach, Kenny Atkinson.

“It was pretty turbulent out there. I’d been, we’d been through a lot of coaches in the time I’d been there to say the least. I think a lot of times the coach was coming in just trying to get their system in place, so there wasn’t really room to have me expand my game instead of just being a post presence.

“That’s one thing I have to say, Kenny gave me the chance to shoot the three and had the confidence in me.”

As for not being to play his full career with the Nets, a cherished dream, Lopez admitted it was tough.

“I had such a fantastic time playing with the Nets, made some connections, friendships relationships that I’ll have and cherish for life, but at the same time, I’m excited to be out here, have a fresh start with the Lakers, playing for the hometown team, playing for a team I rooted for growing up, it’s a dream come true.”

And no Brook Lopez press availability would be complete without some trash talk directed at his brother Robin. "You got the better twin."

But his best lines were about new teammate Larry Nance Jr. who famously dunked all over him last season, but did NOT win dunk of the year Tuesday night.

Good Luck, big guy!