Lakers Rumors: L.A. Has Had ‘Exploratory Conversations’ With Jazz Involving Russell Westbrook
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline is less than a week away and after stringing together a couple of wins, the time to strike is now for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers kicked off trade season when they dealt away Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks for Rui Hachimura, but that’s not enough to get them back to contender status. Los Angeles is still short on outside shooting and could always use more size on the perimeter, so a trade would seem likely.

Russell Westbrook has seemed to adapt to his sixth-man role with the Lakers, but some within the organization don’t believe in his playoff viability due to his inability to shoot and erratic decision making.

To that end, the Lakers have been engaged with several teams about trading away Westbrook and it sounds like the Utah Jazz are exploring their options when it comes to the guard, via Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:

The Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz have had exploratory conversations centered around star guard Russell Westbrook, league sources tell Bleacher Report. However, the Lakers are said to be in communication with most teams to sift through the most reasonable and logical options available.

Westbrook has found his comfort zone as the team’s top reserve, placing him in the conversation for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Though his play has improved since accepting his new role, he has remained available for trade.

The Jazz have overachieved during the 2022-23 season and are squarely in the playoff race, but it might behoove them to move off of some of their pieces because of all the buyers in the market right now. Players like Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley all have real value around the league and all three would be worthwhile additions for Los Angeles.

Of course, everything comes to price and teams aren’t trying to do the Lakers any favors by taking on Westbrook. The reported price all year has been at least one first-round pick to offload Westbrook’s $47 million deal and L.A. has been reluctant to part ways with their precious draft capital unless it’s for a star player.

There’s still time to get a deal done, but the purple and gold might take this all the way up to the buzzer as they sift through all their options.

Rui Hachimura discusses transition with Lakers

Hachimura’s time with L.A. has been productive so far as he’s fit in on both ends. It can be hard for a player to pick up a new team’s schemes and philosophies on the fly, but Hachimura noted that the transition has been good to this point.

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