Lakers Make Splash Before NBA Trade Deadline

Three team trade at NBA Trade Deadling
Lakers guard Russell Westbrook dunks against the Thunder on Feb. 7, 2023. AP

The Los Angeles Lakers have made a splash before the NBA trade deadline in a three-team deal. Kyrie Irving going to the Mavericks created a huge buzz around the NBA. Irving was linked to the Lakers since last summer, with the possibility growing as the deadline approached. After the team missed out on Irving, many wondered what moves they would make instead.

The Athletic‘s Shams Charania reported on Wednesday night that The Lakers, Jazz and Timberwolves are finalizing a trade that would send D’Angelo Russell to Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to the Utah and Mike Conley Jr. to Minnesota.

The Trade Specifics

Photo by Sean Gardner

The trade will see Minnesota guard Russell return to L.A. along with Utah’s Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt.

The Wolves will get point guard Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the Wizards’ and Grizzlies’ second-round picks in 2024 (from the Lakers), and Utah’s second-round picks in 2025 and 2026.

Utah will receive Russell Westbrook and a 2027 first-round pick from the Lakers that is top-four protected, along with Damian Jones and Juan Toscano-Anderson.

How Does The Trade Affect The Teams?

Mike Conley (11) would go from the Jazz to the Timberwolves in the proposed trade.

The moves give the Lakers some depth along with some much-needed shooters as they look to keep pace in the Western Conference. While the move does not bring in any star power or big names, it does fill some major holes on the Lakers’ roster and helps to solidify their position as a potential playoff team. They also unload Westbrook’s contract before the NBA trade deadline, which will make cap room more flexible moving forward.

This summer, the Jazz will have 15 first-round picks with little or no protection through 2029, a talented young core, and probably more than $60M in cap space. The Jazz will likely buyout Westbrook, paving a way for him to return to LA, but with the Clippers.

The Timberwolves will gain a veteran in Conley Jr., solidifying their backcourt and giving them a nice veteran presence on the court to help guide their young players. He will also be pivotal for Rudy Gobert, who has been struggling. The two played together in Utah and had a lot of success.

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