Lakers Could Get Involved in Blockbuster Trade Around $163 Million Star: Report

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham

Getty Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly could get involved in a blockbuster trade around a $163 million star.

According to an August 28th report from Marc Stein of Substack, there’s a “decent chance” the Lakers will be involved in any potential Donovan Mitchell trade.

“If the [New York] Knicks manage to win the trade race for Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, or even if another team unexpectedly beats them to Mitchell, league sources say there’s a decent chance that the Lakers will be involved in the deal,” Stein wrote. “The two future first-round picks that the Lakers possess in 2027 and 2029 are the kind of top-shelf draft picks that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is believed to covet. Russell Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract and those picks could be the Lakers’ entree to a potential three-team swap … depending on the players that would land in Los Angeles.”

The New York Knicks have been heavily linked to Mitchell, who was born in Elmsford, New York. The Lakers could trade Russell Westbrook and future draft picks to the Jazz and acquire role players such as Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley or Rudy Gay.

Mitchell, a three-time All-Star, would be traded to the Knicks and Utah would receive draft picks from Los Angeles and New York, along with Westbrook’s expiring contract.

Lakers Should Target Bogdanovic & Conley

Last season, Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts. The Lakers need more shooters around All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, which is why they should target Conley and Bogdanovic from the Jazz.

On August 24th, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey urged the Lakers to acquire Conley, Bogdanovic and Gay.

“If and when Mitchell is moved, there will almost certainly be a fire sale with the remaining veterans. And there are a lot to choose from, including Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gay, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley,” Bailey wrote. “Landing three of them, even if all may be post-prime, would be worth the Westbrook-and-picks package from L.A. Playing alongside Mitchell the last three years has forced Conley to adapt to playing off the ball. During that stretch, he shot 40.1 percent from three. Bogdanovic has hit 39.7 percent of his triples with the Jazz. And though Gay’s career mark of 34.9 is slightly below average, it’s good enough to force opposing 4s and 5s to follow him out to the three-point line. That influx of shooting around LeBron and AD would quickly put the Lakers back on the path to the playoffs.”

In 69 games for the Jazz last season, Bogdanovic averaged 18.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc. The 33-year-old made 181 3-pointers and could make the Lakers more dynamic and explosive on offense with his ability to space the floor and hit perimeter shots.

Conley would be a better fit alongside James and Davis than Westbrook was last season. The Ohio State product made 169 3-pointers in 2021-22 while shooting 40.8% from deep. Westbrook shot only 29.8% from beyond the arc in his first season in Los Angeles. The one-time MVP was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage, making him a poor fit next to James and Davis.

All Signs Point Toward Westbrook Being Traded

Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported on August 25th that Patrick Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster by the start of training camp. Westbrook and Beverley are intense rivals and likely wouldn’t be able to play together.

The Lakers acquired Beverley from the Jazz in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.

“Beverley’s arrival makes it more likely that Westbrook will be off the active roster by the start of training camp, either through a trade or the team sending him home a la the Rockets with John Wall last season, according to a source close to the situation,” Buha reported.

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