The NBA trade deadline is just days away and after missing out on Kyrie Irving for absurd reasons, the Los Angeles Lakers have been forced to pivot and consider other ways that the team can improve via trade.
The biggest move the Lakers can make involves Russell Westbrook, who has exited the honeymoon phase with fans after impressing as a sixth man early on this season. Trading Westbrook now is a bit easier than it was in the summer as teams will only have to pay half a season’s worth of salary but it will still require Los Angeles to attach valuable assets.
For that reason, it is imperative that the franchise finds a trade that can actually elevate the team to new heights. The latest rumored trade that has been discussed between the Lakers and Utah Jazz does not do that and would be a total disaster if completed for the purple and gold (h/t Tim MacMahon, ESPN).
Utah is definitely a team that should be looking to trade for Westbrook to acquire the sought-after draft picks that Los Angeles has to offer. The Jazz are better off losing games down the stretch and trading for Westbrook and buying him out would help accomplish that. Los Angeles, on the other hand, should never even consider this trade.
This rumored trade with the Utah Jazz would be horrible for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The entire reason why the Los Angeles Lakers held off from trading Russell Westbrook during the summer is so they could potentially get a better deal at the deadline. They almost had that in Kyrie Irving and this would be a massive step down in terms of value.
Mike Conley is a big name but he would not offer much more to the team than Westbrook would. He would be a marginally improvement at best and is under contract for another year. His salary is only partially guaranteed but the Lakers would still be committing to at least $14.3 million against the cap next season (and that is if Conley doesn’t play).
Malik Beasley is an okay role player but he would only add to the logjam at guard, giving Los Angeles another undersized perimeter option that is not a great shooter. Beasley is shooting 35.9% from three this season. His career average is more respectable at 38% but the Lakers are getting him on a down year.
This is not a trade that makes the Lakers a contending team. In fact, it probably doesn’t even elevate the Lakers all that much in a playoff series. Adding Conley and Beasley is not going to be the difference between the Lakers losing in the first round or winning.
To give up two of the most valuable assets in the league for a trade like this would be asinine. This would be a prime example of stacking a bad move on top of another bad move (the original Westbrook trade) only to make the situation exponentially worse.
The Los Angeles Lakers missed out on trading for Kyrie Irving but the latest rumors indicate that Irving will end up in Los Angeles eventually anyway.
The Lakers are much better off just keeping Westbrook in town if this is the kind of offer they are getting.