Ranking Los Angeles Lakers trade options after Patrick Beverley deal | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats & Rumors

Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

A few months ago, a reunion between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving over the Los Angeles Lakers seemed much more likely than it does today.

After Wednesday’s announcement that the Los Angeles Lakers had sent Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to the Utah Jazz for Patrick Beverley, Kyrie’s dream seems dead and buried.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Lakers and Jazz are expected to finalize the deal Thursday morning, delivering Beverley to Los Angeles after a brief stint with Jazz. No picks involved in the deal, per sources. https://t.co/s4FjjrHu4q

Even in late June and early July, Kyrie’s landing in Los Angeles was far from a safe bet, but there at least seemed to be enough whispers to entertain the bet.

“[The Brooklyn Nets insist] talks are only preliminary at this point, but Chris Haynes’ report on Saturday that the Nets and Lakers discussed a trade with Kyrie Irving only fueled what is already a widely held expectation according to which Irving is destined to end up with the Lakers,” Mark Stein wrote earlier this summer. “James, I’m told, wants to see Irving in Lakerland more than anyone.”

Fast forward several weeks, and Beverley is now the incoming guard, while Irving appears to be settling for the Nets.

Even before Kevin Durant and the Nets released a statement essentially negating Durant’s trade request from the start of the offseason, ESPN Brian Windhorst shed some light on Kyrie’s situation on Rise!.

“I think Kyrie is invested in being a Brooklyn Net next year,” Windhorst said. “…He realizes that his best path to getting whatever contract he wants in Brooklyn or anywhere else is to have a really good season.”

Now that the aforementioned statement is out, the Kyrie-LA train is completely derailed, and Beverley is on her way to Los Angeles, the next goal must definitely be to move Russell Westbrook.

Bringing him back with Russ seems untenable. In 2021-22, the Lakers went 31-47 when the soon-to-be 34-year-old point guard was in the lineup. His inability to space the floor makes him incompatible with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

And perhaps most tellingly, ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski said just last week that LA was ready to part ways with its 2027 and 2029 first-round picks if it could land them Kyrie.

Now that Irving is off the table, where else could the Lakers hang the “Russ and two first rounds” package? The three best and most easily predictable scenarios (all of which can provide more stability than a Kyrie swap anyway) are as follows.

3. Charlotte’s Hornets

The deal: Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier for Russell Westbrook a 2027 first-round pick, a 2029 first-round pick and a second-round pick.

In April, Stein reported that the Lakers may be reluctant to take on the remaining two years of Gordon Hayward’s contract. That seems especially true if it means offloading Westbrook’s expiring contract.

It’s easy to see why LA would want to retain flexibility for the 2023 offseason.

Stein added: “The Lakers surely understand they have to consider sustainability if they’re accepting long-term cash, which suggests Terry Rozier should be the headliner heading to Southern California. whether the Hornets and Lakers end up moving into serious trade talks.”

Of course, landing Rozier, who is averaging 19.3 points and hitting 38.8 percent of his threes the past three seasons, might make LA pony up a bit more.

For a team as desperate as the Lakers should be (who knows how long a title window with Anthony Davis and LeBron, 37, will remain open), paying that much makes sense.

Hayward’s health issues notwithstanding (he’s averaged less than 50 appearances per season over the past three years), he obviously spaces the floor better than Westbrook and fits alongside LeBron in positionless forward combos. With AD at 5 and these two creators, it’s easy to imagine a high-end offense in LA

And that’s before adding Rozier’s three-point shooting volume to keep perimeter defenders honest.

For the Charlotte Hornets, this deal only makes sense in the context of a teardown and retooling around 21-year-old LaMelo Ball.

And given their lottery finishes in each of the past two seasons, Hayward’s durability and Miles Bridges’ pending criminal question stemming from domestic violence charges, this is an option Charlotte should consider.

Westbrook could be bought out after the deal. Even if athlete Jordan Brand played the last year of his contract with Governor Michael Jordan, he probably wouldn’t add a ton of wins. And since the Hornets’ 2023 first-round pick goes to the San Antonio Spurs if they’re outside the top 16, losses have some value.

Securing that 2023 first-round pick and bolstering the future stock of assets with the Lakers’ two picks would make this explosive scenario interesting for Charlotte.

2. Utah Jazz

The deal: Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Rudy Gay for Russell Westbrook, a 2027 first-round pick, a 2029 first-round pick and a second-round pick

The Utah Jazz are in an even more obvious rebuilding situation than the Hornets. Rudy Gobert, primary driver of the team’s recent success, has disappeared. Beverley, who came as part of the Gobert case, couldn’t even make it to training camp. And all signs continue to point to Donovan Mitchell ending up with the New York Knicks.

If and when Mitchell is moved, there will almost certainly be a sellout with the remaining veterans. And there are plenty to choose from, including Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gay, Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley.

Landing three of them, even though all may be post-prime, would be worth LA’s Westbrook-and-picks package

Playing alongside Mitchell for the past three years has forced Conley to adapt to off-the-ball play. During that streak, he shot 40.1% from three. Bogdanovic has hit 39.7% of his triples with the Jazz. And although Gay’s career rating of 34.9 is slightly lower mediumit’s good enough to force the opposing 4 and 5 to follow him to the three-point line.

This influx of shots around LeBron and AD would quickly put the Lakers back on the playoff path.

For the Jazz, a Westbrook buyout would almost certainly follow the trade. And after securing huge spoils for Gobert and presumably substantial for Mitchell, Utah should be happy to secure a first round for some of the other difference makers.

Despite their ages (34 and 33 respectively), Danny Ainge should each be able to ensure a first for Conley and Bogdanovic. That leaves a second for the 36-year-old Gay.

Of course, this one seems a little weird considering the Lakers and Jazz just reached a deal this week. If they were interested in something like this, why wouldn’t they put all of the above in the trade just reported?

For one thing, that Mitchell domino didn’t fall. Utah can at least maintain the illusion that they plan to move forward with him if they keep players like Conley and Bogdanovic for as long as they can.

And LA may still be haggling over how many picks they want to attach to Westbrook.

Ultimately, we can look to the Beverley deal as one that greased the slippages for something bigger.

1. Indiana Pacers

The deal: Myles Turner and Buddy Hield for Russell Westbrook, a 2027 first-round pick, a 2029 first-round pick and a second-round pick

In July, the Lakers reportedly signed up with the Indiana Pacers on a deal that would almost certainly have made them better than rumored Kyrie deals.

“By now everyone on the planet, not to mention some distant constellations, knows the Pacers are looking to trade Myles Turner and Buddy Hield,” Bob Kravitz written for The Athletic. “Team President Kevin Pritchard won’t accept a bad deal to move on – evidenced by Indiana’s recent refusal to trade with the Lakers, who offered Russell Westbrook a first-rounder in 2027 and two seconds. Pritchard and the Pacers aren’t desperate or stupid.”

Replace one of those second rounds with a first, and the package no longer smells of desperation, or looks so stupid.

It’s easy to see why Hield and Turner are in the market. They’re certainly not old (Hield is 29, while Turner is 26), but they’re on a different timeline than 22-year-old Tyrese Haliburton.

And since a team led by this trio is far from contention at the moment, it makes sense to try to earn veteran assets.

For the Lakers, it’s actually the Young detailed three-pack here. And if LA is thinking about life after LeBron, that’s the deal they should pursue.

Hield is one of the most prolific three-point shooters of all time (Stephen Curry and Duncan Robinson are the only players in the story who exceeds his two ratings for three-point attempts per game and three-point percentage). It would represent a massive improvement on the spacing front.

Turner, on the other hand, isn’t quite as accurate, but 34.9% of your center should be enough to keep the big ones away from the paint. And a defense anchored by him and AD could be on the verge of regaining the courage of the 2019-20 title-winning side.

With both of these players in the same age bracket as 29-year-old AD, you can begin to imagine the team remaining competitive after LeBron’s retirement (or departure).

Leave a Comment