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Lakers Trade Rumors: LA Engaged in ‘Ongoing Talks’ With Jazz

Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The Utah Jazz and LA Lakers are reportedly holding “ongoing talks,” based on the Athletic’s Tony Jones, though he added that the Jazz “don’t seem to be particularly near a trade which could land them a lot more assets and consolidate the roster.”

The most obvious conclusion to draw is that such talks would revolve around Lakers veteran point guard Russell Westbrook and the rest of the veterans on Utah’s roster such as for example Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay.

The Jazz could match Westbrook’s astronomical $47 million contract for the upcoming season by sending back Conley ($22.6 million), Bogdanovic ($19.3 million) and Gay ($6.1 million). Or they might get back Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn ($5.2 million) for Conley, Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson ($13.3 million).

The sticking point in the talks, probably, will be on the draft capital the Jazz enter return, because the Jazz would almost assuredly turn to arrived at an agreement with Westbrook to waive him.

The Lakers now have two future first-round picks they are able to trade in 2027 and 2029. Up to now, the reporting around any possible Westbrook trade has indicated the team isn’t eager to spend the both. But Utah would almost assuredly want a minumum of one pick because of its outgoing players and a different one to defend myself against Westbrook’s massive contract.

And Utah’s veteran role players would fit LeBron James, Anthony Davis and all of those other Lakers much better than Westbrook currently does.

Conley has had a step back, but he’s still a good enough defender and may offer floor spacing off the ball when James ran the offense. Bogdanovic would give a essential catch-and-shoot option. Gay is really a solid-enough two-way wing. Clarkson provides instant offense off the bench.

It’s better to make a disagreement for just about any three of these players than it really is for Westbrook, a ball-dominant point guard who doesn’t provide solid on-ball defense or any floor spacing. He was a negative fit from the jump and a large section of why the Lakers limped to a 33-49 record last season.

The Lakers, publicly, have supported Westbrook. It’s hard to assume they believe, privately, that he’s the proper fit for the team after last season’s debacle. A trade still feels likely, although Lakers may need to accept they have zero leverage and spend the their two future first-rounders before a deal finally falls.

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