As the Lakers are hoping for a Kevin Durant trade so they can proceed with the Russell Westbrook trade for Kyrie Irving, the Utah Jazz are still feeling out a potential Donovan Mitchell blockbuster. Trading Mitchell enables Utah to fully blow it up and commit to the tanking strategy, which is beneficial for the club. Shams Charania claimed on an edition of “The Rally” that negotiations between the Jazz and Knicks have stalled out and that there hasn’t been communication between the two parties in the past two weeks.
The New York Knicks appeared to be the most logical destination but for now, that might not end up happening. There are two potential teams that are direly interested in Mitchell: The Charlotte Hornets and the Washington Wizards. One possible way for the Hornets to trade for Mitchell is that the Lakers could enter, get Westbrook off the books and not opt for a first-round pick in the trade.
How the Lakers can jump into the trade
Charlotte will need to deliver the required contracts and a ton of draft capital in order to obtain Mitchell. Unfortunately for them, the multi-year contracts they can offer Mitchell are not going to pique the interest of the struggling Jazz.
Even if it would be good to see Gordon Hayward again in Utah, it is best for the team not to bring back anyone who would hinder their prospects of tanking and who would be signed beyond this season.
The Lakers can help with that. While the Jazz can acquire Russell Westbrook’s expiring contract, which they can easily buy out to save money, the Lakers can happily accept those multi-year contracts.
As the Lakers are favoring the Hornets and Jazz, they can possibly make it happen without trading a future first. Lakers will have to do something for the future by sending a future lottery-protected first-round pick to save themselves from releasing a valuable pick in 2027. Charlotte has the picks for the future as well. They have possession of all of the team’s draft pick through 2029 apart from the 2023 first-round pick.
Utah Jazz gets the first pick round from a franchise that is not enough adequate that they can bank on while also getting paid for multi-year relief. Hornets get their star and a core player and the Lakers turn Westbrook’s contract into two players while only getting $2.6 million additional in salary.