Utah Jazz can’t shake Russell Westbrook rumors this offseason. By Athleticismby Shams Charaniathe flamboyant Los Angeles Lakers point guard has attracted interest from the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Jazz.
If Utah ends up dealing All-Star guard Donovon Mitchell this summer, then a trade to the Lakers makes too much sense.
LeBron James’ window to win championships is closing, and Westbrook’s contract prevents the Lakers from being competitive in 2022-23. Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson would be players the Lakers would most certainly target in a trade.
The Lakers need ground spreaders, which is exactly what Bogdanovic and Clarkson bring to the table.
The Lakers are handcuffed on what they can deliver in the near future because of what’s due to the New Orleans Pelicans, but in 2025 opportunities could open up for a franchise that has time to be. patient.
Targeting the unprotected draft picks of teams that should enter the lottery would be Jazz executive Danny Ainge’s game plan. The Lakers would be a prime candidate during a post-James era when you factor in that Anthony Davis could opt out of his contract in 2024-25.
If Westbrook were to be dealt to Utah, expect a buyout or the former MVP to be waived. Not all first-round picks are equal, and Lakers management isn’t pretty.
The Jazz would be well advised to take full advantage of it.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.