Los Angeles Lakers Interested in Acquiring a Trio of Utah Jazz Players
Utah Jazz fans may have gotten closure on the Donovan Mitchell front, but this doesn’t mean executive Danny Ainge is done dealing this summer.
According to NBA insider Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in a trio of Jazz-men: Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jordan Clarkson.
“The Lakers have some interest, I’m told, in the Jazz vets who could be traded (Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Bojan Bogdanovic). But the Lakers also want to preserve cap space for next summer and aren’t that interested in taking contracts beyond 2022-23. Bogdanovic on expiring. There will be some chatter about a Westbrook/first-rounder for Conley, but Conley’s deal is through 2023-24, albeit partially guaranteed. Clarkson has player option for 2023-24.”
Former league MVP Russell Westbrook’s days in L.A. could be numbered, but the Lakers will need contracts that expire in 2023. This would put the Lakers on the path to a Kyrie Irving signing and would set up LeBron James’ last-ditch effort to add to his four rings.
Clarkson and Conley may not fit the criteria that the Lakers are seeking. Conley’s contract runs through 2024 and Clarkson can opt-in for the 2023-24 season. Bogdanovic is a great fit with his expiring contract, and as a three-point shooter to help the Lakers with the spacing issues they had last year.
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Malik Beasley, a newly-acquired Jazz-man, makes sense as his contract has a team option in 2023-24 for $16 million. If the end game for the Lakers is signing Irving, then Beasley, Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gay (contract expires 2023) being part of the package could seal a deal.
Utah’s goal would be to target unprotected first-round draft picks after James is long gone. At this point, it could be the Lakers’ turn to rebuild, but the question is, can the Jazz put together a package that warrants one or two unprotected picks?
Also, the Jazz will be looking to create opportunities for a young roster that needs live reps to develop. Players like Ochai Agbaji, Leandro Bolmaro, Simone Fontecchio, and Jared Butler would all benefit if the Jazz could move the remaining vets that don’t fit in the team’s long-term plans.
Jazz fans can expect at least one more roster reshuffle before the season opener against the Denver Nuggets on October 19.
Follow Patrick on Twitter @pbyrnesNBA.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.