On February 9, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired fifth-year center Mo Bamba via a trade with the Orlando Magic.
Shortly after the news broke of Bamba being traded, the 24-year-old big man took to Instagram to share a hilarious post of him standing outside of a U-Haul truck as he gets ready to move across the country for the next chapter in his NBA career.
As reported by The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the trade package to bring Bamba to Lakerland looked like this:
Lakers get: Mo Bamba
Magic get: Patrick Beverley, future second-round draft picks.
Bamba has participated in 40 games for the Magic this season, providing them with 7.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 49.5% from the field and 39.8% from deep. Furthermore, Bamba could also allow Anthony Davis to slide down to his preferred position of power forward, thus giving the Lakers additional frontcourt size without sacrificing their floor spacing – which would be a significant upgrade for them.
Lakers ‘Remove Vampire’ With Russell Westbrook Trade
On February 8, the Lakers finally found a willing trade partner for Russell Westbrook, sending him to the Utah Jazz as part of a three-team deal that saw D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jared Vanderbilt head to the City of Angels.
According to Dave McMenamin, who was speaking on an episode of ESPN’s NBA Today, the Lakers viewed trading Westbrook as a way of removing a ‘vampire’ in their locker room.
“Russell Westbrook was not gonna be part of the team after this summer when his contract expired. And also when his contract came off the books, the Lakers would have less money to deal with in the free agency period this summer,” McMenamin said, “So you had to do it if you wanted to get those pieces you could have part of the team moving forward. You get younger, you got shooting, you got switchable defenders, and as one source told me, you remove a vampire from the locker room. That meaning a vampire sucks the blood out of the locker room. Russell Westbrook moves on.”
In fairness, Westbrook has successfully reinvented himself this season, embracing a bench role and becoming a genuine Sixth Man of the Year contender; however, it will be interesting to see if he continues to come off the bench once the dust settles and he finds himself on a new team.
LA Clippers Could Be Interested in Russell Westbrook
Assuming that the Jazz buy Westbrook out of the remainder of his contract and he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the coming days, it appears that the LA Clippers could emerge as suitors for his signature.
According to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, the Laker’s cross-town rivals could be interested in the veteran superstar.
“Should Russell Westbrook secure a buyout from the Utah Jazz after the three-team trade is complete, the Los Angeles Clippers are said to have interest in the star guard, league sources tell @NBAonTNT @BleacherReport,” Haynes Tweeted.
On February 9, the Clippers parted ways with John Wall and Reggie Jackson, so it is clear that they could use a talent upgrade at the guard position and may very well view Westbrook as the ideal candidate to help drive their championship push.