Lakers News: LA, Utah Still Discussing Russell Westbrook Trade

Could the nine-time MVP be on the movie?

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reveals that your Los Angeles Lakers are still talking to the Utah Jazz about a potential deal centered around the $47.1 million expiring contract of reserve point guard Russell Westbrook. Haynes cautions that the Lakers are also talking to “most teams” to figure out potential fits, so this could just be a function of both clubs doing their due diligence. 

Haynes adds that the Lakers organization is convinced it needs to make at least one more trade this season, in addition to the Rui Hachimura acquisition it made last week.

What would a deal with the Jazz look like for LA now?

We need to assess this based on what the Lakers need to improve, as Utah has plenty of pieces. Newly-minted All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen is now effectively off the board, as is (probably) rookie center Walker Kessler. A lot of other Jazz players could be made available. One big element the Lakers definitely could use is continued three-point shooting help.

Former Laker Jordan Clarkson, a combo guard, would be just a straight-up upgrade over Westbrook as a change-of-pace sixth man option (or, frankly, as an improvement over starting point guard Dennis Schroder). Shooting guard Malik Beasley is the kind of 3-and-D wing LA desperately needs more of. Power forward/center Kelly Olynyk can run the floor and nail shots from beyond the arc. Power forward Jarred Vanderbilt is a defensive-oriented big signed to a coup of a contract ($4 million a year).

LA could flip Westbrook — plus three other players on veteran’s minimums so it doesn’t have to cut anybody and thus be on the hook for their money (I went with end-of-rotation/out-of-rotation vets Juan Toscano-Anderson, Wenyen Gabriel and Damian Jones — for that foursome. The Jazz would presumably demand both of the Lakers’ two movable first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029, probably with light lottery protections. It would represent a massive upgrade, but would Rob Pelinka be open to parting with both those selections, knowing that he’s not getting any All-Star talent back? Possibly not.

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