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Despite rumors that the LA Lakers might have been used to greatly help facilitate a potential deal between your Utah Jazz and NY Knicks for Donovan Mitchell, that apparently wasn’t ever the case.
On the most recent bout of The Hoop Collective Podcast (starts at 59: 45 mark), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said the Lakers were “never” section of any talks with the Jazz and Knicks involving Mitchell.
“…there have been three-team constructions between your Jazz and Knicks for Donovan Mitchell,” Windhorst said, “where players would visit a third team, but obviously they didn’t execute a deal, however the Lakers were never directly associated with that.”
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported last month that the Lakers, Jazz and Knicks at one point discussed an enormous deal centered around Mitchell and Russell Westbrook.
In the proposed deal, in accordance with Scotto, the Knicks could have received Mitchell, the Lakers could have received Patrick Beverley and something player between Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic or Malik Beasley, and Utah would take Westbrook and “significant draft pick compensation.”
The Lakers finished up acquiring Beverley from the Jazz on Aug. 25 for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.
After months of speculation that Mitchell would result in NY, the Knicks seemingly took themselves out from the running by agreeing to a four-year contract extension with RJ Barrett on Aug. 29.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Knicks president Leon Rose set an Aug. 29 deadline with the Jazz to obtain a Mitchell trade done. When it passed without deal, Rose pivoted to provide Barrett an extension that made him ineligible to be traded for half a year.
The Cleveland Cavaliers swooped in and sent the Jazz a package of Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, Collin Sexton, three future first-round draft picks and two pick swaps for Mitchell.
Meanwhile, the Lakers continue steadily to move nearer to starting training camp with Westbrook on the roster. Head coach Darvin Ham has spoken highly of the former NBA MVP this offseason, telling Andscape’s Marc J. Spears in July he’s been “counted out prematurely.”
Westbrook and the Lakers want to create significant improvements this year following a disappointing 2021-22 campaign. He averaged 18.5 points per game in 78 starts, but had his lowest usage rate (27.3) since 2009-10 and assist percentage (31.6) since 2011-12.
The Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record. It had been the second amount of time in the four years of the LeBron James era that the Lakers have missed the playoffs.