The Los Angeles Lakers made the trade that fans have been waiting months for on Wednesday, shipping Russell Westbrook out of town in a three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.
There are a lot of moving parts in the trade with the Lakers receiving D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota and the pair of Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt from the Jazz.
While the Lakers did not trade anyone from the starting lineup (with Westbrook being the sixth man and the other players traded being lesser role players), the starting lineup is still going to change with D’Angelo Russell in town.
Lakers projected starting lineup with D’Angelo Russell (updated):
- PG: D’Angelo Russell
- SG: Austin Reaves
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Rui Hachimura
- C: Anthony Davis
The players in the starting lineup are not exact fits for the positions but the game of basketball is positionless nowadays. Both Russell and Beverley are traditional point guards but Reaves has played more two-guard this season and would slot in next to Russell.
Anthony Davis is also a traditional power forward but the team has been starting Rui Hachimura in place of Thomas Bryant. For that reason, Davis slots in as the “starting center” while Hachimura is considered the starting power forward.
This shakes up the rest of the rotation as well as several players from the depth chart have been traded.
Lakers projected rotation and depth chart (updated):
- 6th man: Malik Beasley
- 7th: Jarred Vanderbilt
- 8th: Mo Bamba
- 9th: Lonnie Walker IV
- 10th: Dennis Schroder
- 11th: Wenyen Gabriel
- 12th: Troy Brown Jr.
- 13th: Max Christie
- 14th: Davon Reed
This is likely how the minutes shake out on the Los Angeles Lakers after the Russell trade. Malik Beasley makes the most sense to be the team’s traditional sixth man as he offers a shooting presence in the backcourt that is going to be beneficial to the offense.
Right now, Dennis Schroder has been ample minutes but once Austin Reaves is fully healthy he should get more minutes off the bench than Schroder.
The Los Angeles Lakers have officially traded Russell Westbrook and the first potential suitor for him on the buyout market is hilarious for Lakers fans.
Walker IV is someone who falls down the depth chart as his production has been sneakily bad this season. He is someone who could be traded next by the Lakers depending on what happens on deadline day.