Lakers Rumors: D’Angelo Russell & New Additions Expected To Debut Saturday Vs. Warriors
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers, T'Wolves
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to one of the NBA’s several pre-deadline blockbuster trades on Wednesday. In a three-team deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, the Lakers reportedly sent out Russell Westbrook, Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson and a lightly-protected 2027 first-round pick for D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt.

The trade puts an end to a difficult Westbrook era in Los Angeles, bringing new hope that the Lakers can be a competitive team in 2023. They have some ground to make up, as they sit two games back of a spot in the Play-In Tournament and 4.5 games back of the Playoffs at No. 6.

Reportedly, Russell, Vanderbilt and Beasley will have to wait until Saturday to make their Lakers debuts — or in Russell’s case, a second debut — as they won’t be able to get physicals done in time prior to Thursday, according to Dan Woike of The L.A. Times:

The Lakers face the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night at Arena, meaning they’ll be slightly short-handed for that contest. Russell, Vanderbilt and Beasley might be with their new team, but they won’t be in uniform. L.A. will also obviously be without Westbrook, Toscano-Anderson and Jones.

They will also be without Thomas Bryant, who was reportedly traded to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday for Davon Reed and three second-rounders. It’s likely that Reed’s purple and gold debut will also be on Saturday.

If the Lakers make any other moves before Thursday’s deadline, it’s possible they could be extremely short-handed against one of the best teams in the league. A loss would drop L.A. to six games below .500.

Lakers reportedly looking to deal excess guard depth

The next issue the Lakers must face before the trade deadline is a significant amount of guards. The team now has Russell, Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Dennis Schroder, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV. This over-saturation is not only taking away from other positions, but is putting L.A. in a bad spot with regard to playing time.

Perhaps one or more of these players could be dealt before Thursday’s deadline, with Bojan Bogdanovic continuing to be a name the Lakers have interest in. Little time remains to get a deal done, but at-the-buzzer trades are a staple of the NBA’s always exciting trade deadline.

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