Lakers, Jazz and Timberwolves are finalizing trade sending D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt to Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook and first-round pick to Utah and Mike Conley Jr. and second-round pick compensation to Minnesota, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 9, 2023
It stared with rumors from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that D’Angelo Russell might be heading back to the team that drafted him third overall in 2015:
Woj: "One player that [The Lakers] have talked about in the past and have been engaged with again today: D'Angelo Russell." pic.twitter.com/hBgpfP2sZJ— ' (@_Talkin_NBA) February 8, 2023
And things got substantially more concrete with a few updates from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
The Lakers, Jazz and Timberwolves are in discussions on a three-team deal that would send D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers, Russell Westbrook and draft compensation such as a first-round pick to Utah and Mike Conley Jr. to Minnesota, sources tell me and @Tjonesonthenba.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2023
Here’s where we heard Jarred Vanderbilt’s name drop, specifically:
LAL, UTA, MIN have indeed been discussing a three-team trade that would send D'Angelo Russell to Los Angeles, Mike Conley Jr. to Minnesota and Russell Westbrook to Utah. Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt have also been included in the versions of the framework, sources said. https://t.co/uHXQYciEWY— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) February 8, 2023
Bummer. The news hit pause as we wondered what else was coming. Was Daryl Morey on the line asking Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka if he’d re-rout The Vandolorian to Philadelphia?
Ongoing discussions have included Utah's Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt as part of the potential three-team deal to the Lakers, sources said. Sides are working through pick protections and additional draft compensation too, per sources. https://t.co/DoI0EBOBVq— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2023
Remember, Morey was in on Vanderbilt.
Per Fischer, last weekend:
“Vanderbilt’s name has also appeared amid the trade deadline conversation surrounding reserve big men, most notably with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources told Yahoo Sports. While teams like the Indiana Pacers have viewed the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt as an attractive option at power forward, Vanderbilt has been described by league personnel as a leading target in Philadelphia’s quest to fortify its frontcourt reserves behind Joel Embiid.
The backup center market may end up being the segment of trade-deadline activity that features the most action. In addition, the Sixers, Clippers, Blazers, Nuggets, Nets, Celtics, Raptors and Kings have been mentioned by league executives as holding differing degrees of interest to bolster their center rotations.”
And according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, things may have advanced a bit by Wednesday:
“There’s a belief that the shooting guard [Thybulle] will be moved before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline as the team positions itself to win this season’s NBA title. The Sixers (34-18), who are third in the Eastern Conference, could replace him with a suitable backup center to help push the squad to a deep postseason run.
Multiple sources insist Utah Jazz post player Jarred Vanderbilt is a leading target in the Sixers’ quest to fortify frontcourt depth behind All-Star center Joel Embiid. The 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt is a power forward but has the ability to defend all three frontcourt positions. The Sixers are also in the market for a wing, so Vanderbilt could check two boxes for them.”
But alas, it wasn’t to be. The Lakers have finally hit eject on the ill-fated Russell Westbrook experiment. After months and months of countless speculation they might target players like Kyrie Irving, or Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, they go back to where they started.
The Lakers lost more games over a five-year span than any team in the NBA. That 2013-2018 stretch even included Sam Hinkie’s process. That’s how they were able to acquire top picks like Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, another lottery pick, and more, eventually selling off the bulk of that haul for one Anthony Davis.
As roundabout and bungling as it all was, it was good enough for a championship and banners fly forever. It’s hard to see D-Lo and the other new additions righting this shaky ship. But it should be better than what they had before.
Too bad they couldn’t go get Kyle Kuzma, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso back. Those guys sure helped LeBron more than Russ.