Thursday, March 30 2023
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The Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz are discussing a three-team trade that would send Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to Utah and D’Angelo Russell to Los Angeles, according to Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic. Utah would receive at least one first-round pick, presumably from the Lakers, in order to make the deal. 

According to Charania and Jones, the deal could also send Mike Conley from Utah to Minnesota. However, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Jazz are engaged in Conley talks with other teams. Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley could also potentially be in the deal, according to Charania, and the sides are currently discussing draft compensation and pick protections.

The Lakers have been trying to trade Westbrook since the offseason, but have thus far failed to find a suitable deal. There were rumors in the offseason that they were close to dealing Westbrook and two first-round picks for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, but that deal was never completed, and the team’s attempts to land Kyrie Irving over the weekend were thwarted when Irving ultimately landed with the Dallas Mavericks.

Minnesota has watched Anthony Edwards blossom into one of the league’s brightest young stars, and as such, it made sense for them to seek a move involving Russell, whose contract expires after the season. If Edwards is going to be their primary ball-handler moving forward, it did not make sense for them to extend Russell’s contract, so getting value back for him now would be beneficial. If the Wolves are indeed landing Conley, he would reunite with Gobert after the two played three seasons together with the Jazz.

Utah would continue to add to its deep war chest of draft assets, and a first-round pick from the Lakers could be among the most valuable selections on the market. LeBron James is 38 and Anthony Davis is among the most injury-prone stars in the NBA, so adding a pick from Los Angeles in 2027 or 2029 would potentially allow the Jazz to cash in if the Lakers decline in the coming years.

The trade deadline is still a day away. Nothing has been finalized yet, but for the moment, it appears as though the Lakers are closer to moving Westbrook than they’ve been at any point this season.



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