The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade guard Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz. The Lakers will acquire guard D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota in a three-team exchange. The deal also involves Utah sending guard Mike Conley to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Throughout the season, Russell Westbrook has been at the center of numerous trade rumors. The LA Lakers have reportedly held talks with various teams, including the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, and Utah Jazz, regarding deals involving Westbrook.
The acquisition of Russell Westbrook from Washington in 2021 failed to produce the desired outcomes. Westbrook and the star players, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, struggled to complement each other, leading to a missed playoff appearance. It further led to the firing of head coach Frank Vogel. This season the Lakers have a 25-30 record and are ranked 13th in the Western Conference.
Despite having a record below .500, the Lakers are only two games behind the Utah Jazz for a spot in the play-in tournament. The Lakers are four games behind the Dallas Mavericks, who recently acquired Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are currently sitting in sixth place.
Alternatively, The Lakers will receive Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt from Utah in the deal. Minnesota will receive Nickeil Alexander-Walker and draft picks, while the Utah Jazz will obtain Juan Toscano-Anderson and a first-round draft pick from the Lakers.
The Lakers had been searching for trade opportunities prior to and during the current season for Westbrook. However, they have succeeded in securing a deal only recently. Westbrook is in the last year of his five-year, $206.7 million contract, which was worth $47 million this season.
The trade marks the conclusion of Russell Westbrook’s unstable period with the Lakers, spanning over two seasons. In his 130 games with the team, Westbrook recorded an average of 17.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1 steal per game, shooting 43.4% from the field.
With the acquisition of D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt, the Lakers will have a new roster that brings valuable skills to the team. Russell and Beasley are expected to improve the Lakers’ shooting, which currently ranks 26th in the league with a team 3-point percentage of 33.8%. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, is expected to be on the frontcourt and bring additional defensive versatility.
Utah will be acquiring Russell Westbrook as well as two role players, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones. In addition, they will also receive the Lakers’ top-four protected first-round pick in 2027, which, as per ESPN’s Zach Lowe, will turn into a second-round pick in 2027 if it is not conveyed.
Despite his large contract reducing his trade value, Westbrook is predicted to attract a significant amount of interest among the buyers. The Chicago Bulls have expressed interest in acquiring Russell Westbrook through a potential buyout agreement if he becomes available from the Utah Jazz. There are reports that the Los Angeles Clippers have also desire to acquire the star guard.