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Bucks’ Brook Lopez still resents Lakers for virtually giving his contract to Michael Beasley

Brook Lopez, Bucks, Michael Beasley, Lakers

Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez spent a lone year as a member of his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, the last of a hefty contract he had signed with the Brooklyn Nets before being traded for D’Angelo Russell over the summer. The 7-footer was looking forward to returning and donning the purple and gold, yet the Lakers had other plans in mind, targeting bench cog Michael Beasley among them.

Lopez acknowledged that the Lakers’ decision to look past him and seek different assets to form LeBron James’ ensemble was “tough on me,” according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

It’s a decision still second-guessed by some in Los Angeles, even though the Lakers have a very effective two-headed center duo in JaVale McGee and the recently acquired Tyson Chandler. The reason: Management chose to sign the former Knick Michael Beasley for essentially the same modest one-year contract (worth $3.5 million) that Lopez took from the Bucks ($3.4 million).

Lopez was unable to replicate his past 20-point seasons with the team, given the direction pointed to the development of young players. The big man played a career-low 23.4 minutes under coach Luke Walton and was still looking to return for his hometown team, which made the transition to a new team even tougher.

“Growing up, I was a huge Laker fan,” Lopez said. “It’s home for me. I enjoyed playing in L.A. and being a Laker. But I couldn’t be happier playing in Milwaukee. This has been an amazing situation to come into.”

The North Hollywood native has been given free rein to fire from deep and ditch the conventional notion of a center in Milwaukee, a concept he abandoned long ago, as his rebounding totals have only trended downward in the past two seasons.

Brook Lopez is making a career-high 2.5 triples per game and hitting them at a 36.4 percent clip, while Beasley is enjoying an extra $100,000 in annual pay while watching all the action from the bench — totaling only 41 minutes of action this entire season.