Report: Raptors and Jazz are ‘plan B’ options for Lakers while Hornets, Spurs and Bulls are other ‘teams to watch’

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have some “plan B” options for trades ahead of the Feb. 9 deadline, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

Los Angeles was unsuccessful in the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes, as the Dallas Mavericks were able to make a deal with the Brooklyn Nets for the All-Star guard.

“The Lakers will remain active on the trade market, exploring deals both small and large,” Buha wrote. “In the wake of the Irving-to-Dallas news, the two teams that have repeatedly popped up as Plan B options for the Lakers are the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors, according to league sources. Both teams have been linked to the Lakers in recent weeks and have starter-level players who have been rumored to be available. However, talks remain preliminary and nothing is imminent. The Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls are three other teams to watch, according to those sources.”

Los Angeles reportedly could work out a deal with the Jazz involving Russell Westbrook. The deal would likely feature Jarred Vanderbilt, Mike Conley and Malik Beasley, who would all be solid role players to bring in for Los Angeles.

However, the Lakers have to determine if they are willing to move draft capital in order to make a move with one of these teams.

The Raptors are an interesting team, as they could move some key pieces like Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. Both players have player options for the 2023-24 season, so they could opt out to become unrestricted free agents this coming offseason.

Toronto has struggled this season, sitting in the No. 12 spot in the Eastern Conference after making the playoffs last season. The Raptors could look to get some future assets from the Lakers to move off of VanVleet or Trent if they don’t see those players as part of their long-term plans.

It appears that the Lakers are focused on making a playoff run in the 2022-23 season after already making a move for forward Rui Hachimura. With big man Anthony Davis back in the lineup and LeBron James playing at a high level, it makes sense that the Lakers would want to go all in this season.

Missing out on Irving certainly hurts for the Lakers, but the team may be able to build a more balanced roster by making a move with one of these teams for several role players. Los Angeles’ depth has been tested at points this season, as several key players have missed time.

The Lakers are the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference with just a few days to go before the deadline. They still are only three games out of the No. 6 seed, meaning they could make a run into a playoff spot if they put it all together over the remainder of the regular season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.