The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off the trade that fans have been begging to see on Wednesday. Los Angeles traded Russell Westbrook as part of a three-team trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz.
D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt are the incoming players for the Lakers. Utah picked up Westbrook (who they will likely buy out) as well as a protected 2027 first from the Lakers. Minnesota received Mike Conley, Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson and a slew of second-round picks (one from the Lakers).
While D’Lo as a player is getting a bit overhyped (like Westbrook was when he was initially traded for), this trade is about as good as Los Angeles could have gotten for Westbrook. In fact, some may even call it a heist — Danny Ocean-style.
3 reasons why Lakers’ Russell Westbrook trade was an absolute heist:
1. The protections on the 2027 first-round pick
When it was initially reported that the Lakers traded their 2027 first-round pick it was a bit concerning. While this trade undoubtedly makes the team better, it was worth wondering if trading a first-round pick when there are only 30 games left in the season was worth it.
Los Angeles obviously did not think it was worth it to trade an unprotected first and added genius protections on the pick to cover themselves if something goes haywire. The pick is top-four protected, meaning that if things go really bad they will avoid a situation like this year where there was concern that the New Orleans Pelicans would get Victor Wembanyama.
Even better is the fact that the pick does not roll over into another first if the Lakers do have a pick in the top four. Instead of rolling over into 2028, the pick instantly transfers into a 2027 second-round pick if LA is in the top four.