3 reasons why Timberwolves won 3-team trade, and why so few get it

Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves News NBA Trade Deadline D'Angelo Russell Mike Conley Jr. Patrick Beverley
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LA Lakers

PG D’Angelo Russell
SG Malik Beasley
PF Jarred Vanderbilt

There is no way to discuss the Lakers’ version of this three-team trade without pointing to the obvious. This was an out-and-out salary dump of PG Russell Westbrook, a player who does not fit the Lakers organization and who has worn out his welcome there.  The fact that they got rid of Westbrook’s crippling contract with just one future first-round pick is pretty humorous, as plenty are fawning over the Jazz as making out like bandits.

The Lakers dumped Westbrook’s salary for the cost of one future first-round pick and picked up three young rotational pieces that are promising additions to the roster, as well as convertible assets in future NBA seasons as well if things do not work out. The trick is trying to set reasonable expectations for the Lakers’ new roster additions. Will they deliver a playoff berth instantly? That is the expectation, but at 25-30 with just 27 games to go, the Lakers will need to string victories together pretty quickly. D’Angelo Russell’s contract expires at the end of the 2022-23 NBA season, and he was clearly the crown jewel of this trade for the Lakers. That is not a lot of time for him to deliver.

Our Grade: B-

Utah Jazz

PG Russell Westbrook (likely to be bought out)
C Damian Jones
SG Juan Toscano-Anderson
2027 1st round pick (Top-4 protection) LA Lakers

Okay, I swear that I’m not a hater. But let’s take a hard look at the Utah Jazz side of this equation objectively. Salary dumps are common in the NBA, and the cost of dumping an oppressive or constrictive salary has typically been a first-round pick.  And lo and behold, that is what the deal adds up to. But the Jazz did not stop there.

For that single first-round pick in 2027, the Jazz organization had to cough up two second-round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves, one in 2025 and 2026 respectively. And the team had to part ways with quite productive players in SG Malik Beasley and PF Jarred Vanderbilt, both of whom had been mentioned in recent NBA rumors as worthy of a late first-round pick apiece, and certainly of a first-round pick as a package deal. Neither player received in this trade is projected to be a significant contributor down the road. The crown jewel of this trade for the Utah Jazz is the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick that may or may not deliver a starter for the Jazz. Unless you are clearly cheering for an NBA team to tank, there is not enough to crack a smile about in this deal for the Jazz.

Our Grade: C-