Russell Westbrook Goes to Utah as Lakers Acquire D’Angelo Russell in Three-Team Trade

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade guard Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz as part of a three-team deal.

According to ESPN,  as part of the exchange, the Lakers will receive Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, whom they drafted No. 2 overall in 2015 then traded away after just two seasons.

The deal will end Westbrook’s tumultuous, and brief, tenure with the Lakers. The Washington Wizards traded Westbrook to the Lakers before the 2021-22 season, giving the Lakers high hopes that he would be part of a so-called super-team with  LeBron James and Anthony Davis. To acquire Westbrook, the Lakers traded multiple players who were crucial to their championship run in 2020. It didn’t pan out.

Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star and the 2017 most valuable player, is versatile and athletic at his best, easily able to fill up box scores. But in Los Angeles, Westbrook struggled to adjust to coming off the bench and not being the primary ball handler. That, along with his below-average perimeter shooting, sunk the chances of him fitting with James and Davis.

The Lakers (25-30) are out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, despite their championship aspirations. Westbrook averaged 16.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game off the bench for the Lakers this season.

The Westbrook trade will also send to the Jazz forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, center Damian Jones and a first-round pick in the 2027 draft. The Jazz will mark Westbrook’s fifth team in five years, an unusual level of movement for a former M.V.P. still relatively close to his prime.

The Jazz will send Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt to the Lakers, and they will trade Mike Conley and Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Minnesota.

But Minnesota, like the Lakers, has languished in the standings — battling for a playoff spot when the expectations were to be near the top of the West, especially after acquiring center Rudy Gobert, one of the best defensive players in the league, in a summer trade with Utah.

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