This needs to be emphasized up front: Not only did this trade obviously not happen, but things also remain incredibly quiet on the trade front, and no deal similar to this appears close to happening anytime soon. If ever.
However, the Lakers, Knicks, and Jazz discussed a three-team trade that would have sent Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks and Russell Westbrook to the Jazz to be bought out, with a lot of picks going to Utah and other players in the mix, reports Michael Scoto of Hoopshype.
The proposed three-team trade scenario included Westbrook going to Utah and getting bought out. Utah would send Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks, a combination of two players, including Patrick Beverley and Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic or Malik Beasley to the Lakers, and the Jazz would receive significant draft pick compensation from the Knicks and Lakers. The Knicks also would’ve had to part with veteran salary filler(s), such as Derrick Rose to help make the salaries work.
The Lakers also have had interest in trading for Knicks forward Cam Reddish, who could also become part of a trade. Last season, the Lakers nearly acquired Reddish as part of a blockbuster three-team trade talks between the Lakers, Knicks and Raptors at the time.
While this trade makes some sense on the surface, there are also a lot of questions and details, and that’s usually where the devil lies and things get bogged down.
Questions that start with: How many picks are going to the Jazz? Scotto notes in that same Hoopshype story Utah wants more picks back in a Mitchell trade than it got in the Rudy Gobert trade, which was essentially five first-rounders (four future picks plus 2022 first-rounder Walker Kessler). Based on their choices in other trade talks, the Lakers likely were only willing to throw in one of their two tradable first-round picks in this deal, so would the Knicks have thrown in four or five more first-rounders headed to Utah? Would the Jazz want at least five first-rounders just for Mitchell plus one or two more for taking on Westbrook, making it six or seven total?
Then there are the other questions: What players were coming back to the Lakers? Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish and maybe a Utah veteran? Would some Jazz veterans be sliding to New York in this trade? There are a lot of possible permutations of this deal, but like all three-team trades finding a balance where every team gets what it wants and can claim the trade as a win is exceedingly tricky.
The biggest takeaway from this entire report should be the Jazz wanting a bigger haul than the Gobert trade for Mitchell — the trade for the French big man warped the trade market. It has impacted what the Nets expect (but are not getting) for Kevin Durant, and it made other GMs around the league say, “I’m not going over the top and risking the derision Minnesota faced for one player/deal.” It’s going to be hard for Danny Ainge to get that haul again.
We don’t know how far down the road these three-team talks got — teams talk about A LOT of things on a surface level that never move past that into serious discussions. But it wouldn’t be shocking if, when things get closer to training camp and Mitchell trade talks start to warm up again, one of the three teams decides to kick the tires on this deal one more time.
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Report: Lakers, Knicks, Jazz talked massive Westbrook, Mitchell trade originally appeared on NBCSports.com