The Los Angeles Lakers have been involved in trade rumors for just about the entire 2022 NBA offseason.
Teams across the league seemingly want the Lakers to surrender their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks in order to facilitate any type of major trade involving the squad. Los Angeles apparently is willing to part ways with those picks in the same deal if the trade makes the team a certified contender.
“The Lakers, I’m told, continue to hold firm on their position that they will agree to surrender both of their future firsts in the same deal only if the trade makes them a certified contender,” wrote NBA insider Marc Stein.
One NBA insider thinks Utah Jazz executive Danny Ainge may want both of the aforementioned first-round picks without any protections.
“With Danny Ainge, anytime he’s involved with the Lakers, let’s be clear, Ainge is going to try to squeeze the Lakers like a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice,” said NBA insider Michael Scotto. “I don’t think there’s any way he’s (Russell Westbrook) going to Utah without the two first-round picks. If anything, Ainge is going to try and get them both unprotected like he’s trying to do with the [New York] Knicks and get as many unprotected picks as possible (for Donovan Mitchell).”
Ainge trying to get everything he can out of the Lakers shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Of course, the executive spent a large part of his playing career with the Boston Celtics, who are arguably the Lakers’ biggest rivals.
The 63-year-old also spent many years with the Celtics as an executive before joining the Jazz in 2021.
It will be interesting to see if the Lakers get involved in any trade for Mitchell. Stein recently reported that there’s a “decent chance” the Lakers will be involved in any potential Mitchell deal in some capacity.
While the Knicks have been linked to Mitchell most heavily, they recently gave RJ Barrett a massive extension, which complicates their pursuit of the three-time All-Star.
There’s a lot of uncertainty going on right now in the Mitchell sweepstakes, and it’s definitely a situation to keep an eye on as the start of training camp gets closer and closer.