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Deadline Watch — Pacific Division

Basketball Insiders continues our Deadline Watch series, where we examine the trade buzz circulating around each division, with a look at the Pacific Division.



The Pacific Division has been one of the most competitive divisions in the entire NBA this season. The Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers all appear to be serious title contenders. The Golden State Warriors are still fighting for a playoff spot while the Sacramento Kings are seemingly headed toward another high-lottery finish.

With the trade deadline less than a week away, every team aside from the Kings should be in the mood to buy. But just how might the deadline shake out for the Pacific? Which teams should do what? Let’s take a look.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are currently third in the Western Conference, but their final position in the standings shouldn’t matter to them. Their main concern should be getting Anthony Davis completely healthy and back on the court for the postseason. So long as they have a healthy Davis and LeBron James, they will and should be favored to go back-to-back.

Of course, that doesn’t preclude them from their due diligence at the trade deadline; they face a tight cap situation with little to trade away, but the team should do what they can to add a bit more depth in the coming weeks.

While they may be quiet at the actual trade deadline, the Lakers figure to be serious players in the buyout market. Already littered with intriguing names, the Lakers might just have a battle-tested vet that wants to win a ring fall into their lap, the kind of player that could address their depth issue and give them an even greater chance to repeat as champions. With even more names expected to become available in the coming days, expect the Lakers to be aggressive.

Los Angeles Clippers

The other Staples Center tenant could also be considered a title favorite. Fourth in the Western Conference, the Clippers seem to have made positive strides after last year’s playoff meltdown. The addition of Serge Ibaka and the surprise play of Nicholas Batum has also helped solidify their rotation. Still, they too should look to be aggressive at the trade deadline. 

But what’s the most pressing need for the Clippers? Point guard; they should look to add one and they have the assets to do so. Patrick Beverly has missed significant time due to injury and, beyond that, isn’t the typical creator expected at the position. Reggie Jackson is a serviceable backup but has struggled at times as a starter. Ricky Rubio and George Hill are likely available and should be easy targets for the Clippers.

One of the worst teams in the clutch this season, another seasoned veteran could also aid their woes. An insurance big to play behind Ibaka or Ivica Zubac and keep players such as Patrick Patterson or Mfiondu Kabengele on the bench could also prove useful.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns have been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season. Second in the West, Phoenix has a lot of reasons to stand pat at the deadline — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said, they’ve already made a minor move, acquiring Torrey Craig from the Milwaukee Bucks. Craig should fit into the role of a defensive wing and can provide quality minutes in the right matchup. His ability to play either forward position should also give the Suns another piece to play with when setting their lineups.

Going forward, Phoenix should look squarely at depth pieces like Craig.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors have the potential to be one of the more aggressive teams at the deadline. They have the assets in James Wiseman and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first round pick this season to go out for anyone they see fit. They are also paying a lot in the luxury tax and could also look to ship off someone like Kelly Oubre Jr. to save money. 

The Warriors should do what they can to improve their roster and maximize Stephen Curry’s prime. However, there aren’t many guys worth pushing all the chips in with Bradley Beal and Zach Lavine seemingly unavailable.

That said, there are plenty of players the Warriors could target that would move the needle or, at the very least, help them secure a spot on the playoffs. They could take a swing at John Collins or Nikola Vucevic and hope they can work something out but, at this point, they would seem set to acquire more of a secondary option as opposed to another alpha alongside Curry. It was recently reported that the price for Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo was “too steep” for the Warriors, but players like Aaron Gordon and Harrison Barnes could likely be had at a more reasonable cost and aid the Warriors considerably.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings should be one of the deadline’s biggest sellers. They have appealing pieces up-and-down the roster that could bring back young players, draft picks or both to pair with their backcourt of the future in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. 

Barnes and Buddy Hield are both under contract beyond this season, but both have garnered interest and should be traded. Richaun Holmes, set to be a free agent after the season, is one of the more underrated bigs in the NBA and should draw plenty of interest as well. Sacramento also has some veterans that could be traded or bought out if no deal is found in Cory Joseph, Hassan Whiteside and Nemanja Bjelica. With seemingly more parity than ever across the league, the Kings have a real opportunity to take advantage of a buyers market and build something special; expect them to take advantage.

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Jazz agree to trade Derrick Favors, first-round pick to Thunder



First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Utah Jazz are trading power forward/center Derrick Favors and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a future second-round pick. The goal here was to help reduce their tax bill. While the six-foot-eight Georgia native does not have any notable NBA awards or honors on his basketball résumé, in the 2020-21 NBA season, Favors averaged 5.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and a field goal percentage of 63.8 percent. The 11-year NBA veteran also recorded a free throw shooting percentage of 73.8 percent last season.

The 2020-21 Thunder finished 27-50 (.306), ranking 14th overall in the Western Conference. They could use another first-round pick. Plus, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, this trade will put Utah $13 million below the luxury tax. On November 24, 2020, Favors signed a three-year, $29.2 million contract with the Jazz. Favors is set to earn $9,720,900 next season. This is the second time in his career he has left the Jazz.

He played with them from the 2010-11 season to the 2018-19 season, before he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans on July 7, 2019 for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick. For the 2022-23 season, he has a player option of $10,183,800. The Jazz plan to also re-sign Mike Conley, so this was somewhat of a drastic move to help clear up cap space. On July 6, 2019, Conley was traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Jazz, in exchange for Grayson Allen, Darius Bazley, Kyle Korver, and a 2020 first-round pick.

Moreover, scoring-wise, the 33-year-old point guard has not lived up to his performances from his last few seasons on the Grizzlies, but the Jazz need all the help they can get. Jazz general manager Justin Zanik will make it a top priority to re-sign Conley here soon. Conley earned $34,504,132 in the 2020-21 season.

According to Spotrac, Conley has a cap figure of $39,344,900. Center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell have a combined percentage of 47.61 percent of Utah’s total salary cap. On December 20, 2020, Gobert signed a five year, $205 million extension with the team. He will earn $35,344,828 next season.

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Wizards, Lakers agree to Russell Westbrook and Three-Player Trade Deal



The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook in a three-player trade, sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft to the Wizards. According to ESPN, the Wizards are also giving up their 2024 and 2028 second-round picks as well. During last night’s draft, at pick No. 22, the Lakers sent Wildcats’ center Isaiah Jackson to the Pacers via the Wizards. At pick No. 15, the Wizards drafted Gonzaga’s forward Corey Kispert. In the second round, at pick No. 31, the Milwaukee Bucks traded NBA G League player Isaiah Todd to the Wizards via the Pacers.

On Thursday, Harrell decided to pursue his $9.7 million player option for next season. Yesterday, rumors surfaced across social media regarding a possible Lakers-Kings trade involving Harrell. Despite all the wrong predictions and mindless speculation over these last couple of days, this trade move could work out for both teams.

After all, Westbrook is a 9-time NBA All-Star and three-time assists leader. In his MVP season back in the 2016-17 season, over the course of 81 games, he averaged a career-high 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. On Twitter, Westbrook tweeted, “I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

In the 2020-21 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in 67 games started for the Lakers. The 28-year-old shooting guard will make $13 million next season. As for Kuzma, in 68 games played last season, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Kuzma is set to earn $13 million next season. For Harrell, in 69 games played last season, he averaged 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. The six-foot-seven power forward/center is also a six-year player. Instead of having one or two notable super stars, the Wizards having several contributing players might work out better in their favor.

Last season, in 65 games played in his only season spent on the Wizards, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 11.7 assists. The 32-year-old point guard finished the 2020-21 season with 38 triple-doubles, ranking first in the league and second highest in his own playing career. Westbrook also surpassed Oscar Robertson last season for the most all-time assists; Robertson accumulated 181 triple-doubles in 14 seasons. Now, the two-time NBA scoring champion has 184 career triple-doubles, the most all-time for any player. Furthermore, this is Westbrook’s fourth team in his NBA career.

He is the fifth former MVP in league history to play on four different teams over the course of four seasons or less, adding to the existent list of Bob McAdoo, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Derrick Rose. Moreover, on December 2, 2020, Westbrook was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Wizards for John Wall and a 2023 first-round draft pick. He is set to earn $44.2 million in the upcoming season. His player option for the 2022-23 season is $47 million. This trade deal will not be official until August 6th.

Per Bovada’s NBA Futures odds, the Lakers now have +300 odds of winning their eighteenth championship in the 2021-22 season. This is a move from 4/1 odds before the trade, leaping the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, and they now have the second best odds behind the Brooklyn Nets (+250). Westbrook also has the best odds of leading the league in assists next season, with first place odds showing EVEN. He is ahead of James Harden (+150), Trae Young (+450), and Luka Doncic (+600). With +6600 odds, he also ranks 19th in the NBA for next season’s MVP odds, trailing Lakers’ teammates such as James (+1200) and Davis (+2800).

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Russell Westbrook joins L.A. Lakers in One of the biggest trades in NBA History



(Image courtesy of AP)

In one of the biggest NBA Draft trades ever, Los Angeles Lakers acquired the services of Washington Wizards’ former MVP, Russell Westbrook, last night!

As a result of the trade, the Lakers can now boast a holy trinity of attacking talent in Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and, of course, Lebron James, unlike anything seen in recent memory. Assuming this new contingent clicks into gear, it might just be the most frighteningly talented trio to play together in NBA history, rivaling the Bulls triple horn of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, or that great Lakers team of the late 80s with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In exchange for their star man, the Wizards received three players and what was the No 22 overall pick in last night’s NBA Draft. The former Lakers tasked with replacing Westbrook in Washington will be Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell.

Washington then spent the Lakers No.22 pick on Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson, but immediately traded him on to the Indiana Pacers in a deal that saw the Wizards acquire pick No.31 and point guard Aaron Holiday. Wizards then used pick No.33 to draft Isaiah Todd to bolster their ranks at power forward.


(Image courtesy of AP)

The effervescent Westbrook had another great year in 2020-21, averaging 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds per game in his first season with the Wizards.

In joining the Lakers star cast, which already boasts the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook, a 9x NBA All-Star & 2016-17 MVP, will now be hoping to end his NBA championship drought.

Westbrook has since taken to social media to thank the WashingtonWizards franchise for a great year spent in the capital, tweeting:

“Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one,” he wrote. “Everyone from the front office, to the training staff, the coaches, my teammates, and the fans. I’m grateful y’all took a chance on me and supported me every step of the way.”

“I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

With a legendary point guard now fixed among the ranks, 2020 NBA Championship winners the Lakers have all the talent required to wrestle back the title from the freshly-crowned Milwaukee Bucks.

So, get yourselves ready for an influx of NBA betting lines on Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Middleton vs. LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook for next year’s championship games!

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