On Wednesday that the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade point guard D’Angelo Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Utah Jazz in a three-team, eight-player trade.
The Timberwolves will receive guards Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker as well as picks in the deal, while the Lakers will also receive Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.
According to sources, the Jazz will receive Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and a top-four protected 2027 Lakers first-round pick in addition to Westbrook. According to sources who spoke with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Jazz’s pick immediately becomes a 2027 second-round pick if the Lakers do not transfer it to them in 2027.
According to sources, the deal has been communicated to all involved players, including Westbrook.
The Lakers’ core around LeBron James is strengthened by the additions of Vanderbilt, Beasley, and Russell in an effort to kickstart their sluggish season. While James established the NBA’s all-time scoring record, the Lakers fell to 25-30 on Tuesday and are currently 13th in the 15-team Western Conference.
According to Second Spectrum, a Lakers team that ranks 26th in 3-point field goal percentage and 27th in 3-point field goal percentage on wide-open attempts should benefit from Russell and Beasley in particular.
Russell, 26, shoots 46.5% from the field, including 39.1% from three-point range, and is averaging 17.9 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Russell helped keep Minnesota in the mix of a competitive race in the middle of the Western Conference after a rocky start to the season and the loss of Karl-Anthony Towns to a calf strain in late November.
This season, his field goal, three-point, and free throw percentages are all at career highs. He is also finishing at a high level: this season, he has shot 65.4% on layups and dunks, which ranks him among the top 10 guards (minimum 125 field goal attempts).
Minnesota, on the other hand, made the decision to move in a different direction as Russell entered the final year of his contract and Anthony Edwards continued to emerge.
Russell will be playing for the Lakers for the second time. He was selected as No. 2nd overall by the team in the 2015 NBA draft, he lasted for Los Angeles for two seasons before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in June 2017.
In eight years, Russell has played for five teams; So far in his NBA career, he hasn’t played for a team for three seasons.
For the Jazz, Beasley is a strong outside shooter who makes 35.9% of his 3-pointers and averages 13.4 points per game. The 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt has started 41 of his 52 games and has averaged 8.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, excelling on defense and in rebounding.
Westbrook’s time in Los Angeles comes to an end less than two years after the Lakers purchased the former MVP with the intention of propelling the team back into contention for the championship. However, the Lakers risked losing out on the postseason last year due to injuries and a mismatch between Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis on the court.
After an impressive 11-year tenure in Oklahoma City, during which he was named to eight All-NBA teams and won the MVP in 2017, Westbrook, 34, now joins his fifth team in as many years.
In his 15th NBA season, Westbrook still has the ability to put up big numbers; He is one of only six players this season to have at least four triple-doubles. However, Westbrook’s overall production has decreased from his career averages as a result of his move to the bench this season; he is averaging 15.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. Among players who have attempted at least 12 field goals this season, his 41.7% shooting percentage ranks in the bottom ten.
Westbrook is nearing the end of the maximum five-year contract he signed with the Thunder in 2017. This summer, he will become a free agent with no restrictions.
Conley, 35, is one of Utah’s last players from the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell eras. He has led the Jazz to a surprising position in the play-in race.
After four years together, Utah’s Jordan Clarkson stated that it was “super hard to say goodbye” to Conley.
“That guy was like Yoda, honestly,” Clarkson said. “He had so many stories, and he had such an enlightenment about him. You just listened to him. … He can communicate with anyone.”
This season, Conley is averaging 10.7 points per game, which is the lowest he has been since his rookie year. However, he has a career-high 7.7 assists.