If the Los Angeles Lakers plan on dealing Russell Westbrook to improve their lineup, a new report indicates that they’ll likely have to relinquish first-round picks to do it.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times looked at the current state of the Lakers and the different options they have in trying to reshape their roster.
“In conversations with executives from rival teams in both conferences, it’s clear what the cost for any deal is going to be,” Woike wrote. “It’ll take at least one first-round pick to park Westbrook somewhere and a second first-round pick to bring back multiple rotation pieces, sources with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly said. Those prices could rise (possibly with pick swaps) or lower (bad contracts coming back to the Lakers) depending on variables.”
Westbrook was acquired by the Lakers and was considered to be a major asset who could help the team contend for an NBA title. Instead, a variety of issues last season resulted in his future with the team being in doubt with the team’s training camp opening later this month.
Teams have been reluctant to deal for Westbrook, even though he produces all-around solid numbers. Chemistry issues and his massive salary for the upcoming year help explain why other teams are expecting additional assets in any trade proposal.
All That Jazz
Due to that situation, the Lakers may quickly plunge into trade discussions about a number of Jazz veterans. These include Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Malik Beasley and former Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson.
Utah is clearly committed to rebuilding, with the Mitchell deal and the earlier trade of center Rudy Gobert making their intentions clear.
A Closer Look
Conley and Clarkson each have two years left on their respective deals, while Beasley has a team option for the second remaining year on his contract. Bogdanovic is signed for only one more season.
Bogdanovic’s statistical contributions would likely not be big ones. However, he could help make it easier for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to thrive.
The 25-year-old Beasley is the youngest player among the quartet and would offer the Lakers a 3-point threat if acquired. Conley is close to turning 35 and is also a 3-point threat, though his production dipped last season.
Clarkson is one year removed from winning the NBA’s Sixth Man award and turned 30 back in June. The Lakers already dealt him away once, so bringing him back is an option to debate.
The Current Situation
The Lakers have made efforts to discuss a trade with the Indiana Pacers involving guard Buddy Hield and center Myles Turner. Talks have been stagnant, but could conceivably pick up if Utah’s available talent enters the discussion.
Right now, Westbrook is destined to once again be a part of the Lakers. If the Lakers want to paint a different picture, giving up part of their future might be the only way to make that happen.