The Los Angeles Lakers’ main focus for a majority of the offseason has been trying to find a trade partner for Russell Westbrook, whether that be to acquire another star like Kyrie Irving or various role players that can help a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis get back into championship contention.
To this point though, the Lakers have not found a deal as the Brooklyn Nets are waiting for a resolution on Kevin Durant’s situation and L.A. has been hesitant to include both their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a trade just to unload Westbrook.
As training camp draws closer though, the Lakers may become more aggressive to get a deal done and avoid the awkwardness of Westbrook being around a team he knows he has no future with.
With an Irving trade looking less likely, the Lakers need to consider other options and one of them is the Utah Jazz. It’s no secret that the Jazz are about to enter a rebuild after already trading Rudy Gobert and shopping Donovan Mitchell. Once Mitchell gets dealt, the Jazz also have some other highly-priced quality role players that can help the Lakers, making them a potential fit to take on Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract if they are compensated properly with draft picks.
According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Lakers have indeed discussed the possibility with the Jazz, even looping in the New York Knicks as a third team considering their interest in Mitchell:
As noted on the latest HoopsHype podcast, the prevailing thought around the league is any three-team trade involving Russell Westbrook would need to include the 2027 and 2029 first-round picks from the Lakers with as few protections as possible.
The Lakers had conversations about joining the Jazz and Knicks a few weeks ago in a potential three-team trade, league sources told HoopsHype.
The proposed three-team trade scenario included Westbrook going to Utah and getting bought out. Utah would send Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks, a combination of two players, including Patrick Beverley and Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic or Malik Beasley to the Lakers, and the Jazz would receive significant draft pick compensation from the Knicks and Lakers. The Knicks also would’ve had to part with veteran salary filler(s), such as Derrick Rose to help make the salaries work.
So just to be clear, the Lakers would not be acquiring Mitchell in this scenario as they have nowhere near the number of assets it will take to get that done. If the Knicks land Mitchell though then that opens the door for the Lakers to bring in some combination of Patrick Beverley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Malik Beasley, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley in exchange for Westbrook and likely both future first-round picks.
If Irving winds up staying in Brooklyn then this may be the best course of action for the Lakers. One other potential option would be Buddy Hield and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers, although the Lakers are said to not be willing to include both first-round picks in that scenario.
Considering the report states that the conversations between the three teams took place weeks ago, it’s unclear where things currently stand.
Beverley has desire to play with James and Lakers
Lakers fans likely wouldn’t be too happy with the team acquiring Beverley given his past history as a rival, but earlier in the offseason he actually expressed a desire to play with the team as well as saying that LeBron James is the one NBA superstar he would want to play with.
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