When it comes to Russell Westbrook, much of the discussion about his trade partners has been focused on the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers. One other interesting scenario that previously existed in theory was a deal with the now-tanking Utah Jazz.
That theory may have been a reality, or at least actually discussed, as the Lakers, Jazz and Knicks did converse about a three-team deal that would include Donovan Mitchell and Westbrook, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
The proposed three-team trade scenario included Westbrook going to Utah and getting bought out. Utah would send Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks, a combination of two players, including Patrick Beverley and Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic or Malik Beasley to the Lakers, and the Jazz would receive significant draft pick compensation from the Knicks and Lakers. The Knicks also would’ve had to part with veteran salary filler(s), such as Derrick Rose to help make the salaries work.
In theory, the pieces and teams make sense. The Knicks and Lakers can cobble together enough draft picks to appease the Jazz while swapping Mitchell and Westbrook as the two main salary pieces in the deal.
If the Lakers were to bring in Patrick Beverley, it’d be an interesting acquisition considering his history with the Lakers as an antagonist. At the same time, Beverley has openly stated his desire to play with LeBron and the Lakers.
Now, which of the other remaining three the Lakers would desire is unclear. It’s also unclear if just two of those players would be enough, though that would depend also on the number of draft picks the Lakers would have to include. Jordan Clarkson obviously has history in Los Angeles and playing with LeBron, but Bojan Bogdanovic would greatly help the Lakers’ lack of shooting, as would Malik Beasley.
When compared to deals for either Kyrie Irving or Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. this feels like a distant third option. But in an offseason when few options exist to offload Westbrook, exhausting all options is necessary.
For now, it’s unlikely the Lakers are operating with much sense of urgency as their Plan A remains acquiring Irving. Only when a trade for Irving becomes a clear impossibility will the Lakers move on, it seems. And in that case, this trade or others similar to it could become overwhelmingly likely.