Lakers trade rumors: Jazz discussed deal that would send Picks Russell Westbrook to Utah

The Los Angeles Lakers have been waiting 10 months for Russell Westbrook’s perfect trade. It seemingly came on Friday when Kyrie Irving asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him. Irving was a proven match for LeBron James and was exactly the kind of superstar the Lakers prioritize. But when the dust settled, Irving became a member of the Dallas Mavericks, not the Lakers.

Now the trade deadline is just two days away and the Lakers are scrambling to pick up the pieces. The team is reportedly still looking for James and Anthony Davis upgrades, but who could they acquire? A number of names appear to be on the table as the deadline nears.

Let’s check out the latest Lakers trade rumors.

The Raptors control the deadline

Just about every team looking for a major addition is waiting for the Toronto Raptors in that period. Apparently every player not named Scottie Barnes is available before Thursday, and the Lakers appear to be looking into all of them. Yahoo’s Jake Fischer reported that the Lakers are among many teams interested in defensive stopper OG Anunoby. Several reporters have linked the Lakers to 2022 All-Star Fred VanVleet and upcoming free agent Gary Trent Jr.

All three tick several important boxes for the Lakers. They are all strong shooters, which is a necessity for any Lakers trade contender as they make the fewest 3 points in the NBA. They would all also help the Lakers’ 20th defense. Anunoby is the price of the trio. Aside from playing the most valuable position, he would fill a gaping hole in forward for a Lakers team that consistently plays three-guard lineups to cover up its lack of frontcourt depth.

Of course, almost every team could use a different forward, so the competition for Anunoby will be tough. The Lakers only have two first-round picks to offer, so it’s unclear if they can compete in a bidding war for his services. With so many teams seemingly keeping assets for an offseason run at Kevin Durant, the price of Toronto’s available veterans might be just low enough for the Lakers to go chasing. Unless? There are a number of alternatives on the table.

Utah has been in the running since the offseason

Danny Ainge has been doggedly pushing for the Lakers’ draft picks. They were reportedly in talks back in the off-season when jazz still had Bojan Bogdanovic to offer. No deal with Russell Westbrook materialized at the time, but the Lakers and Jazz joined forces in a Patrick Beverley trade for Talen Horton-Tucker. At this stage, these teams are fairly familiar with what the other has to offer.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon has reported that the Lakers and Jazz are still discussing a deal that would see several roleplayers, including Mike Conley and Malik Beasley, go to Los Angeles in exchange for those first-round picks and Westbrook. It’s unclear what the overall package would look like, though the Lakers would likely ask for former sixth man of the year Jordan Clarkson and defensive stretchman Jarred Vanderbilt if they put both picks on the table.

Charlotte is a dark horse

Negotiations with Utah and Indiana have been the focus since the offseason, but Charlotte always made sense as a possible home for Westbrook. The Hornets are tanking and have a number of long-term contracts that they would likely prefer to put off for Westbrook’s expiring salary.

One of those names, according to fisherman, is Terry Rozier. Rozier is a stronger shooter than Westbrook, and the Lakers could add him as a long-term starter given his contract. Charlotte has also reportedly received interest in forward PJ Washington, an obvious Lakers fit given their problems on the front court. Those two alone wouldn’t be enough to make Westbrook’s salary, but another middle-class contract like Mason Plumlee or Kelly Oubre Jr. could fill that gap. Lakers trade rumors: Jazz discussed deal that would send Picks Russell Westbrook to Utah

Chris Estrada

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