Jazz CEO Danny Ainge Reportedly ‘Covets’ The Lakers 2027 And 2029 Picks

With Kevin Durant staying in Brooklyn, there are two remaining big names waiting to be traded this offseason. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell is expected to be moved whenever a team reaches the lofty asking price of the Jazz, who are hoping to replicate the pick return from sending Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. Russell Westbrook is also still waiting to find out where he will play basketball next season, although his situation is the opposite of Mitchell’s, as the Lakers will need to attach picks to Westbrook to unload his $47 million expiring salary.

It appears as though there’s a decent chance both players will be on the move in the same deal, as the Jazz are very much open to adding Westbrook for next season, provided the Lakers send them their 2027 and 2029 first round picks. According to Marc Stein, those two picks are “coveted” by Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, who would like to add the Lakers as a third team in a Donovan Mitchell trade package with the Knicks — or someone else potentially.

The two future first-round picks that the Lakers possess in 2027 and 2029 are the kind of top-shelf draft picks that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge is believed to covet. Russell Westbrook’s $47 million expiring contract and those picks could be the Lakers’ entree to a potential three-team swap … depending on the players that would land in Los Angeles.

Stein goes on to wonder if Evan Fournier and Bojan Bogdanovic would be enough of a return to get the Lakers interested in jumping into such a deal, as they are willing to part with those two picks provided the deal makes them a legitimate contender. While Utah will be hoping to load up on picks and young talent, they’ll be happy to pass whatever top veterans to the Lakers for those picks. The Lakers will have to decide if that return is better than the oft-discussed Buddy Hield and Myles Turner package from Indiana, or if they’ll push for something more like a return to L.A. for Jordan Clarkson.

In any case, as camp approaches, we figure to get a resolution on Westbrook and Mitchell’s situations, potentially all at once, as the league starts to finalize rosters and prepare in earnest for the 2022-23 season.