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Lakers, Jazz Wolves Trade Grade

Lakers get: Guards Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell, forward/center Jarred Vanderbilt

Jazz get: Guard Russell Westbrook, forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, center Damian Jones, 2027 first-round pick (via Lakers, top-four protected)

Timberwolves get: Guards Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Mike Conley, 2024 second-round pick (via lower of Memphis and Washington), 2025 and 2026 second-round picks (via Utah)

Lakers: A

I actually love this trade for the Lakers, and I’m kind of shocked I like it as much as I do. They managed to trade one rotation player for 3 young high quality rotation players. I like this deal better than trading the two picks, swaps and all they were asking for for Kyrie Irving even. Obviously I would rather have Irving in a vacuum, but this was a fair price.

When you have one of the best duo’s in the game in Anthony Davis and LeBron James upgrading the talent around them may be enough, and the smarter route as well. The protection on the 2027 1st rounder gives them good chance to keep that pick after LeBron and AD are no longer this good or potentially even on the team.. That’s what seals it to me if they can reasonably pivot and have a strong chance it’s only a 2nd rounder if they tank.

Vanderbilt and Beasley are on what I would call value contracts and team control the next two seasons as well. They can let Russell walk after the season depending on what his price is, but at his age I would keep him as well as long as LeBron and AD are there he fits in and it prime age. I really like this trade with the pick protected like this. They got two shooters that can play off the ball with LeBron. They can also do something on it. Beasley averaged nearly 20ppg just a couple years ago. They even got a PF that can defend out on the perimeter and cross match with LeBron on defense and defend Small Forwards, and play PF on offense. He’s 23 years old as well on a 2 year 4 million dollar a year contract and has shown a little ability to shoot. There is some upside there.

Jazz: B-

The Jazz are overstocked on picks. This is a reasonable gamble to take an upside pick if the Lakers are bad and possibly get into the top 4. I understand the reasoning, but for any other team I believe I’d rather just have a couple of late first and 2nds or whatever worse picks package those three players would have brought back. This is either a boom or bust of a trade. I’d take the surety.

Timberwolves: C+

Another trade I really don’t get for the Wolves. The big return is a 35 year old making 23 million the next two years. I guess the thinking is with Gobert looking creaky and so much invested in this year the thinking is they need to go for whatever they can now. There is no better chance with the west as open as it will be. It also keeps them from having to resign Russell which they seem ready to move on from.

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