There is reportedly a "decent chance" the Los Angeles Lakers could emerge as a third team in a Donovan Mitchell trade, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein.
Per that report: "The two future first-round picks that the Lakers possess in 2027 and 2029 are the kind of top-shelf draft picks that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is believed to covet. Russell Westbrook's $47 million expiring contract and those picks could be the Lakers' entree to a potential three-team swap... depending on the players that would land in Los Angeles."
Per Stein, the Lakers' stance on giving up their two future first-round picks is that they will only do so if the deal makes them a "certified contender," and he questioned whether a deal that netted them players like Bojan Bogdanović and Evan Fournier would meet that threshold.
It was previously rumored that the Lakers might push to land Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, though with this week's news that Kevin Durant has pulled back his trade request and will remain with the organization, Irving may no longer be on the market (at least until his free agency next summer).
The Nets, in theory, are going to run it back with the trio of KD, Irving and Ben Simmons. So if the Lakers are going to find a trade that moves them off Russell Westbrook due to his wonky fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it's going to come elsewhere.
Harrison Faigen @hmfaigen
"Yet I am also hearing that, if no trade involving Westbrook materializes and if he is on the roster when the Lakers start practicing on Sept. 27, new Lakers coach Darvin Ham remains determined to carve out a real role for Westbrook."<br><br>-<a href="https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheSteinLine</a><a href="https://t.co/S58iRIJFhw">https://t.co/S58iRIJFhw</a>
Getting involved in any Mitchell deal would potentially make sense. The Jazz have a number of veteran players like Bogdanović, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley and Rudy Gay who would make more sense as role players on a contending team like the Lakers than they would for a rebuilding team like the Jazz.
Utah already traded Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason. Trading Mitchell would signal a full-blown bottoming out of the roster around young players and draft picks.
The question for the Lakers is whether better deals will emerge than involving themselves in a three-team trade with the Jazz and New York Knicks or whatever team eventually lands Mitchell.
One long-rumored deal has involved the Lakers landing Myles Turner and Buddy Hield in a Westbrook swap, which would give them a rim-protecting center in Turner to pair with AD and a much-needed sharpshooter from beyond the arc to help with the team's floor spacing.
The Lakers clearly have their eyes on Utah's roster, having acquired Patrick Beverley already for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson, so it wouldn't be a shock to see them dip back into that well again. The question will be whether they are willing to give up two future firsts to do so and what other deals might be on the table for them in the coming weeks.