Lakers Rumors: Insider Says LA Could Trade Russell Westbrook For 3 Players, Including Former All-Star

It’s time to move off Brodie.

Los Angeles Lakers reserve point guard Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million expiring contract has long been linked to the Utah Jazz. We know the current Lakers and Jazz front offices have been able to negotiate deals in the past, as this summer, LA flipped Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson’s contracts to Utah in exchange for veteran Patrick Beverley.

Utah has plenty of solid vets who could help the Lakers improve now, and may not cost too much future draft capital for LA to add.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reveals that any Westbrook-to-Utah trade will “almost certainly” send former All-Star point guard Mike Conley, swingman Malik Beasley and power forward Jarred Vanderbilt back to Los Angeles. All these players would represent massive roster upgrades for LA. Vanderbilt would probably become the Lakers’ new sixth man, as the club’s defensively-oriented third big off the bench. Beasley would give LA size and shooting touch on the perimeter, while actually being able to stay in front of his defensive coverages. Conley in his Memphis Grizzlies prime was a 3-and-D setup man, and those his defensive abilities have eroded, his offense has not. The 35-year-old guard is, like any 35-year-old NBA player, a bit of a health risk, and somewhat overpaid.

What would it take to pry these pieces loose? One lightly-protected first draft round pick and perhaps a second rounder would make sense for LA, but it may not be worth moving the Westbrook money if Utah insists on prying away both the Lakers’ movable firsts.

If that happens, would the Jazz be amenable to, say, taking Beverley back, assuming it could still get a first-rounder from the Lakers in the offing? LA could package his $13 million expiring deal to add, say, one of the following pieces: Beasley, former Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (now starting with Utah), or floor-spacing big Kelly Olynyk.

Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, the team’s front office ringleader, explained his approach to the trade deadline in a chat with ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, with his club sitting snuggly as a Western Conference play-in club. At 27-28, Utah is currently the 10th seed.

“It doesn’t influence my process,” Ainge said regarding the surprising success of the franchise this season. “I mean, we’re enjoying the team. The fans love our team, they’ve bought into our team, and we’re enjoying that part of it. But we’re not looking to break it up or necessarily go win a championship this year, either. We’re trying to do things that will help us long term. We’re not looking for a short-term fix so that we can get to the seventh seed instead of the 10th seed, unless it helps us long term.”

Team GM Justin Zanik echoed Ainge’s stated plan — being amenable to trades that could help the team improve long-term (i.e. draft picks and promising youth).

“The flexibility that we have, and the fact that we have some really good players on reasonable contracts, we get a lot of calls,” Zanik told MacMahon. “I don’t have to go make any calls. They’re calling — up and down the roster, whether it’s starters or rotational guys, veterans or good, young players that are coming along.”

The Jazz are reportedly informing rival clubs that All-Star forward Lauri Markkanen and rookies Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbai are not going to be available in trade, meaning that anyone else on the roster pretty much is.

Read More 

Back to top button