The Lakers, Timberwolves and the Jazz have been discussing a trade that would send Los Angeles guard Russell Westbrook to Utah, a trade that would presumably result in a contract buyout for Westbrook, as we relayed here.
The deal would also reportedly send guard Timberwolves D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers, Jazz guard Mike Conley to the Timberwolves and some draft compensation to the Jazz, all of which was first reported by Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic.
But the entire idea seems to hinge on whether Minnesota gets what it views as fair value for Russell, particularly when it comes to draft picks, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Basically, while the Lakers and Jazz have “significant deal structure in place,” the Timberwolves continue to talk about Russell with other teams, Wojnarowski added.
Along with the Lakers and Jazz, the Timberwolves are said to be having talks with the Nuggets on Denver guard Bones Hyland, drafted by Minnesota head of basketball operations Tim Connelly when the two were with the Nuggets.
Earlier Wednesday, former NBA guard J.J. Redick said he’s heard that a trade involving Westbrook and Conley may be close.
“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.”