Lakers 3-Team Trade Lands D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt

The Lakers are shipping out Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, and a top-four protected 2027 first-round pick. The Timberwolves will receive Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and three second-round picks.

This trade for LA comes a few weeks after acquiring Rui Hachimura from the Wizards. Pelinka has been active, and these deals give the roster much-improved depth. 

Russell is a good scorer, shooter, and playmaker, averaging 18/3/6 while shooting 46.5% and 39.1% from three. He can slot in as the starting point guard, moving Dennis Schroder to the backup off the bench.

Beasley could become the starting shooting guard or be the 6th man off the bench. He is having a solid season, averaging 13/4/2, and is a career 38% shooter from behind the arc. 

Getting Vanderbilt in this deal is amazing, as he is a young forward under contract for this year and next. Vanderbilt is a great defender and rebounder, standing at 6’8’’ with a 7’1’’ wingspan, and has seen his three-point shot improve throughout his career. The 23-year-old is averaging 8/8/3, along with a steal per game.

Trading away Westbrook was the right move for Pelinka and the front office to make. While he has played well in his 6th man role, he isn’t a great fit with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. James and Davis led the Lakers to a championship in 2020 when great role players surrounded them. This trade gives them that and a shot to make a playoff push in the final stretch, as they are only four games back of the 6th seed in the Western Conference.

A key thing to note is this trade doesn’t disrupt LA’s cap flexibility in the summer. With Russell in the last year of his deal, Beasley on a team option, and Vanderbilt on a cheap $4 million deal, the Lakers can still pursue other players on the free agency market. They could even go after Kyrie Irving if the Dallas Mavericks aren’t able to extend him.

Pelinka and the front office made a great move to acquire three players to fill needs and fit around LeBron and AD. Is this enough to make the Lakers championship contenders? Or should Pelinka make another move involving Patrick Beverley and possibly Lonnie Walker IV before the deadline?

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