When it comes to Russell Westbrook, much of the discussion about his trading partners has focused on the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers. Another interesting scenario that previously existed in theory was a deal with the now-ailing Utah Jazz.
That theory may have been a reality, or at least actually discussed, when the Lakers, Jazz and Knicks were discussing a three-team deal that would include Donovan Mitchell and Westbrook, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
The proposed three-team trading scenario involved Westbrook going to Utah and being bought out. Utah would send Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks, a two-player combination 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 should have parted ways with veteran salary fillers like Derrick Rose to help make salaries work.
In theory, the characters and teams make sense. The Knicks and Lakers can cobble together enough draft picks to mollify the Jazz while trading Mitchell and Westbrook as the deal’s two main paychecks.
If the Lakers brought Patrick Beverley in, it would be an interesting acquisition given 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 it’s unclear which of the other remaining three the Lakers would want. It’s also unclear if just two of those players would be enough, although that would also depend on the number of draft picks the Lakers would need to pick. Jordan Clarkson obviously has a history in Los Angeles and plays with LeBron, but Bojan Bogdanovic would help the Lakers a lot with the shooting shortage, as would Malik Beasley.
Compared to offers for either Kyrie Irving or Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. This feels like a distant third option. But in an offseason when there are few ways to relieve Westbrook, all options must be exhausted.
For now, the Lakers are unlikely to operate with much urgency as their Plan A continues to take Irving on. Only when a trade becomes a clear impossibility for Irving will the Lakers continue, it seems. And in that case, that or other similar trades could become overwhelmingly likely.
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