NBA Insider Buzz: Lakers Know They Need Another Trade, Jazz Enter Westbrook ChatFebruary 3, 2023
The Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz have had exploratory conversations centered around star guard Russell Westbrook, league sources tell Bleacher Report. However, the Lakers are said to be in communication with most teams to sift through the most reasonable and logical options available.
Westbrook has found his comfort zone as the team's top reserve, placing him in the conversation for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Though his play has improved since accepting his new role, he has remained available for trade.
The Lakers continue surveying the market for premium shooting. Detroit Pistons sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanović remains a principal target, but there is league-wide skepticism on whether the Pistons are really willing to unload the nine-year veteran. It's been reported that it would take at least an unprotected first-round pick to get the Pistons' attention.
The belief within the Lakers' organization is that they need to make at least one more move by the Feb. 9 trade deadline to give themselves a legitimate shot at competing for a championship, sources say. The acquisition of Rui Hachimura and the return of Anthony Davis has provided a jolt of energy and a renewed sense of confidence in the locker room, along with some added motivation.
Lakers players were privately agitated that Davis wasn't named a reserve to the Western Conference All-Star roster on Thursday, sources say.
Prior to going down with a foot injury in December, he was playing at an MVP level. Davis has played in 29 games, the same number New Orleans Pelicans All-Star starter Zion Williamson has registered. Williamson, nevertheless, was voted in by the fans, who account for 50 percent of the votes to determine the starters in each conference.
After learning of his snub, Davis went off for his best game since his return, producing 31 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in a 112-111 victory on the road over the Indiana Pacers.
"Good, he gets to get some rest then, and get ready for this home push," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said about Davis not being selected for the All-Star game. "We have business to take care of. That's a fun weekend. Salute to the league. They do a hell of a job putting on a great weekend of festivities ... But it's about Lakers business right now. We got to get ourselves back to where we belong and that's in the postseason."
Sneaky Mo Bamba Sweepstakes
The Orlando Magic have made center Mo Bamba available, league sources tell Bleacher Report.
Minutes for the 24-year-old dipped in the month of January (10.2) and there are teams who are intrigued with the untapped potential of a 7-footer who possesses a consistent outside shot.
Malik Beasley's Market
Rival executives tell Bleacher Report they believe the Utah Jazz have a team—or multiple teams—willing to offer a first-round pick for shooting guard Malik Beasley.
The three-point specialist is the first guest on my brand new podcast with Marc Stein called Thisleague UNCUT. Beasley spoke on how he's handling being in trade rumors, among other topics.
East Contenders Eyeing Will Barton
Washington Wizards guard Will Barton is open to a change of scenery, league sources tell Bleacher Report, after the veteran has fallen out of head coach Wes Unseld Jr's rotation.
The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks could make a run at Barton.
Dame For 3...In SLC
Portland Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard intends to participate in the 3-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, league sources tell Bleacher Report.
It would be his third time competing in the event, and his first time since 2019.