Utah Jazz insider labels D’Angelo Russell and Kevin Porter Jr. as potential in-season trade candidates

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Utah Jazz insider Andy Larsen believes that Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell and Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. are potential in-season trade candidates.

“At the point guard position, though, there are more limited obvious options,” Larsen wrote. “I suppose the Jazz could trade for 19th-ranked D’Angelo Russell, but he found his way out of major playoff minutes by the conference finals last year. Maybe 24th-ranked Kevin Porter Jr. is a young option, but is not exactly a team-first player. I don’t like those choices.”

Utah could be in the market for a point guard during the 2023-24 season since the team moved on from veteran Mike Conley at the trade deadline last season. While it did receive former MVP Russell Westbrook in that deal, the team ended up buying out his contract, clearing the way for Westbrook to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

Russell, who was acquired by the Lakers in that three-team deal with the Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves that sent Conley to Minnesota, signed a two-year deal with Los Angeles this offseason.

The second season of that contract is a player option, which means Russell could opt out after the 2023-24 season and become an unrestricted free agent.

During the 2022-23 season, Russell averaged 17.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from beyond the arc while playing for the Lakers and Timberwolves.

The biggest issue for Russell came during the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets last season. Russell averaged just 6.3 points per game in the Western Conference Finals after putting up 17.4 points per game for the Lakers during the regular season.

It was also a major drop-off from his stats against the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs when he averaged 14.7 points per game.

If the Lakers end up preferring guard Gabe Vincent to Russell in the rotation in the 2023-24 season, that could make the former No. 2 overall pick expendable in the trade market.

As for Porter, he could be a player that the Houston Rockets look to move on from if young guards Amen Thompson (the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft) and Jalen Green thrive in the 2023-24 season.

Porter’s contract is either partially guaranteed, non-guaranteed or a team option in the three seasons following the 2023-24 campaign.

Time will tell whether or not either player is on the market for Utah, but Larsen certainly believes it is a possibility.

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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.