Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook currently remains in the City of Angels, but the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz are interested in trading for the nine-time star.
According to Michael Scott of HoopsHype, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka should give up both first-round draft picks and 14-year veteran Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. It seems like a low-risk, high-reward activity.
“Talking to people around the league, whoever takes Westbrook wants both first-round draft picks,” explains Scotto.
Report: Utah Jazz ‘better’ than Indiana Pacers for Russell Westbrook https://t.co/ee786qwBc0
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) August 31, 2022
Jovan Buha of the Athletics believes Pelinka is hesitant to surrender one of his first-round draft picks. That point was made clear by the Kyrie Irving trade drama.
By the sounds of it, the Jazz are the most likely landing spot for Westbrook. The Pacers just can’t compete. They have good players but Pelinka needs Mitchell.
“I think they’re going to raise it [trade talks] Before training camp and to be more aggressive than what I was told, but this attack includes giving up two first-round picks, I’d love for them to still fight to keep that second first-round pick,” he says. Buha
Pacers, Jazz most realistic destinations for Russell Westbrook trade
Scotto went on to say, “With Danny Ainge, anytime he’s dealing with the Lakers, let’s be clear, Ainge is going to try to squeeze the Lakers like freshly squeezed orange juice.
“I don’t think there’s any way he’s going to Utah outside of two first-round picks. If anything, Ainge is going to try to get both unexpected — just like he tries to do with the Kicks — and get as many unexpected picks for Donovan Mitchell as possible.
The Lakers are in win-now mode. With LeBron James turning 38 in December, Anthony Davis is injury-prone. With a new coach, young talent is vital to an NBA contender. If the front office can acquire Mitchell, the Lakers will send Ainge a king’s ransom for the fifth-year player.
Think of it this way. If LeBron and the Lakers return to the NBA Finals with Mitchell, the trade will be worth it after all is said and done. Time is running out. Westbrook turns 34 in November. In addition, Mitchell is still in the main. If the Pacers make a move, the All-Star’s return is a must.
Will LeBron James leave Los Angeles to play with the kids?
So what’s the problem? LeBron plans to play with his sons Brony and Bryce in the future. James wants to win another championship, but if he wants to play with his kids, he will be forced to leave Los Angeles in the coming years.
To be clear, the Lakers won’t have any future first-round draft picks if they drop the bank on Mitchell. They are rolling the dice on what could be make or break with LeBron. In the end, only Ainge gets to have his cake and eat it too.
If the Mitchell experiment fails, this move will set the Lakers back several years. On the other hand, the team missed the playoff against Westbrook. They were close to the bottom last season.
Maybe LeBron can win one more ring with Los Angeles. But it should happen in 2023. He could then request a trade or decide to leave during free agency for whatever team Broney wants.
More trade rumors about Russell Westbrook, Lakers, Jazz and Packers are on the main page.