Russell Westbrook

Three-team trade is ideal compromise for Lakers in challenging circumstances

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The Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz swung a high-profile three-team trade on Wednesday, centering around D’Angelo Russell, Mike Conley and Russell Westbrook. It might have since been overshadowed by the Kevin Durant deal, but this is still a trade worth some Lakers three-team trade analysis.

Lakers three-team trade analysis

The Lakers receive Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley, while sending a top-four protected first-round pick to the Utah Jazz. If the pick falls in the top four, it will convert to a second-round selection, meaning Los Angeles’ future picks are not impacted.

Minnesota gets Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three future second-round picks. Utah lands Russell Westbrook, who is now heading for a buyout, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones and the first-round pick from the Lakers.

This checks boxes for every franchise. Danny Ainge adds to his draft arsenal. The Lakers add another playmaker, a switchable, versatile defender and shooting, while maintaining a degree of flexibility in the offseason, and keeping hold of that valuable 2029 first-round pick.

Minnesota was clearly not buzzing about paying Russell in the offseason. They land an experienced floor general in Conley, while restocking some seconds to help with future deals.


What this means for each team

Are the Lakers suddenly a contender? This deal certainly gives them better depth. Removing Westbrook helps regardless of the incomings, but Russell is not a perfect fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This feels like a good compromise from going all-in, though.

For the Timberwolves, some may question if this is throwing in the towel on this season. It doesn’t look like that. Conley is still good. Russell can be a frustrating player, and not one who necessarily complements Anthony Edwards. The T-Wolves were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better without Russell on the floor.

There was not nothing to lose for the Jazz in making this trade, while the Lakers had to do something with Westbrook’s salary before the deadline. Even if the Lakers don’t go on a deep run, adding better-fitting pieces next to James and Davis is an undebatable win. If healthy, they could be a real threat in the Western Conference.

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