In a three-team transaction with the Wolves, the Lakers get D'Angelo Russell while sending Russell Westbrook to the Jazz.

In a three-team transaction with the Wolves, the Lakers get D’Angelo Russell while sending Russell Westbrook to the Jazz.

According to CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter, the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Utah Jazz are nearing an agreement on a three-team trade that will send Mike Conley Jr. to the Timberwolves, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley to the Lakers, and Russell Westbrook and a top-four protected 2027 first-round pick to the Jazz. The Jazz will also send the Timberwolves their second-round selections in 2025 and 2026, along with the lesser of their 2024 second-round picks from Washington and Memphis. Additionally moving to Minnesota as part of the trade are Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

Since the summer, the Lakers have been looking for a trade partner for Westbrook, but have been unsuccessful for the most of the season. The team tried to sign Kyrie Irving over the weekend, but their efforts were unsuccessful when Irving ultimately decided to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. There were rumours in the offseason that they were close to trading Westbrook and two first-round picks to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, but that deal was never finalised.

The Lakers have now brought in three young players in Russell, Beasley, and Vanderbilt who they believe can not only help them contend this season but also be a part of the club going ahead. The Lakers selected Russell second overall in the 2015 draught, but they moved him in 2017 to free up contract space.

Given that Anthony Edwards has developed into one of the league’s brightest young players, Minnesota’s pursuit of a trade involving Russell, whose contract expires after the season, made sense. It did not make sense for them to extend Russell’s deal if Edwards would be their main ball-handler going ahead, so getting value back for him now is advantageous. Conley gives the Wolves a point guard who just played three seasons with Rudy Gobert with the Jazz, proving to Minnesota that they can work well together.

A first-round pick from the Lakers may be one of the most expensive picks available if Utah keeps building up its vast war chest of draught assets. LeBron James is 38 years old and Anthony Davis is one of the NBA’s most prone to injuries, so adding a choice from Los Angeles in 2027 might provide the Jazz the chance to profit if the Lakers falter in the following years.

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