The Los Angeles Lakers went into the offseason hoping to make drastic changes to their roster after missing the postseason in 2021-22.
While there were are number of changes, one thing that has remained constant is that Russell Westbrook is on the roster. The Lakers made several attempts to trade Westbrook this summer, although to no avail. One of the discussions they had was with the Utah Jazz after their entered a rebuild by trading both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
A Westbrook package that the Lakers talked with the Jazz about reportedly centered around Bojan Bogdanovic. The 33-year-old would have provided the Lakers with some much-needed shooting on an expiring $19 million contract.
Ultimately though, the Lakers and Jazz weren’t able to come to an agreement on a deal and Bogdanovic wound up being traded to the Detroit Pistons.
The return the Jazz got was a bit underwhelming as they received Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee with no draft compensation involved.
Many expected Bogdanovic to net at least one first-round pick, but according to NBA insider Marc Stein, his desire for a long-term contract extension made teams hesitant to trade for him:
Crowder does not appear to be alone in wanting an extension. New Pistons sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanović, 33, is said to be seeking a new multiyear contract, which league sources say dissuaded some interested teams from pushing harder to try to acquire him from the Jazz as Bogdanović plays out this season on an expiring $19.3 million deal. It remains to be seen whether the Pistons intend to keep Bogdanović for the entire season — or perhaps move him before the trade deadline in February in the belief that a contender will feel more urgency to make a stronger offer than those Utah received in recent weeks. Word is that the Pistons want to see first if they have enough on the roster to mount an unexpected run at a play-in slot … even in a deeper-than-usual Eastern Conference that doesn’t exactly encourage such optimism.
The Lakers are believed to not want to take on long-term salary to preserve their cap space for next summer, so it’s possible that is why they were unwilling to get a deal done with the Jazz involving Bogdanovic. Stein also reported that is the case, although if there is a deal out there that can get L.A. back into championship contention, they would be willing to sacrifice that cap space to take on long-term salary:
The Lakers’ undeniable preference throughout the latter stages of the offseason was to preserve their projected 2023 salary cap space for a significant signing next summer. Yet they have not ruled out a deal between now and the Feb. 9 trade deadline that involves taking on long-term salary and/or surrendering their much-discussed future first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 … but only if that trade is deemed to clearly return the fallen giants to contender status. Remember that in July, as previously reported here, L.A. was unwilling to trade Talen Horton-Tucker to Utah for Patrick Beverley, then changed that stance after LeBron James signed a two-year extension worth nearly $100 million on Aug. 18. Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka confirmed at a press conference earlier this week that the team has not completely closed the door on a significant in-season trade.
With training camp underway and the preseason about to begin, it looks like the Lakers will begin the season with the roster as currently constructed, which includes Westbrook.
If things don’t go well to start though then L.A. has until the trade deadline in February to make a move. If the Pistons’ season doesn’t go as planned and they don’t sign Bogdanovic to the extension he is seeking then they could look to trade him again at the deadline, so that will be something worth monitoring for the Lakers throughout the course of the season.
Pelinka praises Westbrook for maintaining positive attitude throughout summer
Constantly hearing your name in trade rumors as Westbrook did this past summer cannot be easy, so Rob Pelinka recently praise the point guard for remaining positive and handling everything in a professional manner throughout.
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