The Los Angeles Lakers are getting ready to start the season with Russell Westbrook in their backcourt alongside Patrick Beverley, meaning that Westbrook trade rumors through the season might have been overblown. Despite all the signs from the Lakers camp saying Westbrook will remain a member of the team, the media reports keep telling us that the team is actively working on finding a new team for Russ behind the scenes.
The most likely team at this point is the tanking Utah Jazz, who are expected to buy out Russ and let him join any team he'd want to on a minimum contract. However, the Jazz and the Lakers haven't been able to come to an agreement on anything outside the deal to acquire Beverley. Tony Jones of The Athletic has said that the teams still haven't been able to come to an agreement.
“They’ve been talking to the Lakers. The Jazz made an offer to the Lakers. The Lakers made a counteroffer to the Jazz,” Jones stated. “Those two offers were far apart, and I don’t know that there’s gonna be enough of a gap to be bridged in order for a trade to happen there.”
“I can tell you that the Jazz were seeking one of Los Angeles’ first-round picks, but the asking price for that first-round pick is probably too much for what the Lakers are willing to pay.”
Is A Westbrook Trade Likely?
From how the Lakers have interacted with the media, it seems they are holding fort on Westbrook not being traded. They have had Russ and Bev address the media, coach Ham has spoken about Russ in his rotation, and LeBron James has tweeted in favor of Russ multiple times.
If the Lakers were to get multiple quality role-player from Utah, maybe they'd be willing to give up picks. From the current market, it doesn't look like other teams are lining up picks for the Jazz veterans either, so LA will hold off on those picks unless they can get something of actual value instead of expiring veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic.
If the Lakers can pick up multiple vets like Bojan, and Jordan Clarkson, along with a young player in Lauri Markkanen, Malik Beasley, or Jarred Vanderbilt, maybe it is worth it for LA. As far as packages with Mike Conley, it doesn't look like LA feels picks are the right asking price for the same.