The Lakers have reportedly been talking about a trade of guard Russell Westbrook with the Jazz, and both sides are seemingly aiming to reach a deal before Thursday’s deadline.
As we relayed here, the Lakers have been seeking role players in return for Westbrook, who would likely agree to a contract buyout with the Jazz and enter free agency.
Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Lakers are seeking players such as Jazz point guard Mike Conley and guard Malik Beasley as part of a Westbrook trade. And if you’re to believe former NBA shooting guard J.J. Redick, a deal involving Westbrook and Conley is indeed nearing completion.
“I’m not breaking news here, but by the time we release this episode it could be done and that’s the Russ to the Jazz for Conley,” Redick said on his The Old Man and The Three podcast. “I’ve heard that that is getting close to being done.”
Perhaps adding to the Lakers’ urgency to trade Westbrook was the report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Westbrook and coach Darvin Ham were involved in a heated locker-room exchange during the Lakers’ loss to the Thunder on Tuesday.
“Ham expressed frustration with how Westbrook lingered on the playing floor after getting subbed out of the game late in the second quarter,” Wojnarowski reported.
Westbrook, 34, is averaging 15.9 points in 52 games, coming off the bench in all but three. His scoring average is the lowest since his rookie season of 2008-09. He has also been linked to the Hornets, Spurs and several others.
One rival GM told Hoops Wire while he once didn’t believe the Lakers could move Westbrook before the deadline, “I’d be surprised, actually, if they didn’t do so now.”