UTAH JAZZ

Lakers Legend Magic Johnson Predicts Jazz Not Done Making Moves

Sep 1, 2022, 3:32 PM
Russell-Westbrook-Magic-Johnson-Los-Angeles-Dodgers-MLB...
NBA player Russell Westbrook and Magic Johnson attend a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees on July 30, 2013 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Caifornia. (Photo by Jon Soohoo/Los Angeles Dodgers via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Soohoo/Los Angeles Dodgers via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson predicted that the Utah Jazz and CEO Danny Ainge aren’t done making major moves this offseason after Donovan Mitchell was traded.

The Jazz reportedly sent Mitchell, a three-time NBA All-Star, to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, September 1. The transaction came a couple of months after Utah traded fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both moves saw the Jazz receive a treasure chest of players and picks in return for Mitchell and Gobert.

In total, the Jazz got a haul of seven first round draft picks (five of which are unprotected), three pick swaps, and eight players, including Patrick Beverley, who Utah already traded to the Lakers in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson.

Following the Mitchell trade, Johnson praised Ainge for his work this offseason.

“Utah’s CEO of Basketball Danny Ainge is doing a fantastic job rearranging Utah roster and acquiring 13 unprotected or lightly protected picks,” the five-time world champion tweeted. “I don’t think he’s done yet!”

By trading Gobert and Mitchell, the Jazz have bounced out of the luxury tax and reloaded their asset cupboard with future draft picks and young players on controllable contracts. However, the franchise stills has a number of win-now veterans that could be on the move during the remaining weeks before the preseason begins.

“Utah still has coveted veteran trade asserts, including Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley Jr,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski shared after reporting the Mitchell deal. “They’ll approach an Oklahoma City-esque haul of draft assets once they’re done dealing.”

Could Johnson’s former club be primed to work with the Jazz on another blockbuster trade?

This offseason, the Lakers have been rumored to be looking for an outlet to move on from former MVP Russell Westbrook. Last season, Westbrook’s first season in Los Angeles, the Lakers failed to reach the playoffs after stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis dealt with injuries. Westbrook played in 78 contests, but was unable to lift the Lakers to the postseason and has been painted as a scapegoat by some as the reason for the team’s struggles.

Prior to free agency in July, Westbrook exercised his player option for the 2022-23 season and will now earn $47 million in what will be the final year of his contract.

Before Mitchell was traded, the Lakers had been rumored in a three-team deal involving the new Cavalier and the Jazz. One report that mentioned Los Angeles’ interest in Mitchell also highlighted Westbrook as a trade piece and Utah as a possible landing spot.

“The Lakers, I’m told, continue to hold firm on their position that they will agree to surrender both of their future firsts in the same deal only if the trade makes them a certified contender,” NBA insider Kurt Helin highlighted from a newsletter by Marc Stein. “Does a three-teamer that routes, say, Utah’s Bojan Bogdanović and New York’s Evan Fournier to the Lakers rise to that level?”

Two days before the Mitchell trade, KSL Sports Zone’s Scott Garrard shared a screenshot from ESPN’s Trade Machine of a potential Utah-Los Angeles deal involving Westbrook and a few of Utah’s veterans.

The possible trade deemed “successful” by ESPN would have the Lakers send Westbrook to the Jazz in exchange for Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, and Malik Beasley. The deal with likely include draft compensation as well. I assume the Jazz would look to obtain unprotected picks from the Lakers for 2027 and 2029, picks that could be extremely valuable with James nearing the end of his playing career.

“This is something that very well could be in play,” Garrard tweeted shortly after Mitchell was sent to Cleveland.

If Westbrook were to land in Utah, it’s possible that the Jazz could buy the point guard out of his contract and let him become a free agent, free to sign with another team. The move would allow the Jazz to clear more of their veteran players off the roster and onto situations more likely to compete next season. After dealing Gobert and Mitchell, the Jazz appear ready to embrace a few seasons with an eye on draft picks instead of wins.

Jazz fans, do you think Utah should work with Los Angeles on a deal for Westbrook and draft picks? Let us know by tagging @kslsports on social media.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Talen-Horton-Tucker-Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Roster Has Mostly New Faces Ahead Of Media Day

The Utah Jazz open media day on Monday, and after a flurry of off-season trades, the roster will be mostly unrecognizable from last season. 
1 day ago
Donovan-Mitchell-Cleveland...
Kyle Ireland

Former Jazzman Donovan Mitchell Smashes Guitar Before Browns Game

Former Jazz and current Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell hyped up Browns fans ahead of a Thursday night matchup with the Steelers.
2 days ago
Bojan Bogdanovic #44 of the Utah Jazz celebrates a three-point shot (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty I...
Ben Anderson

Bogdanovic Trade Is Worst Value Of Jazz Summer

The Jazz trade that sent Bojan Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons on Thursday brought underwhelming value back to Utah.
2 days ago
Karene-Reid-Big-PAC-Power-Poll...
Ben Anderson

Big 12, PAC-12 Power Poll: Week Three Edition

Week three of the BIG-PAC Power Poll features 10 undefeated teams, one winless team, and moves from both BYU and Utah football.
2 days ago
Utah-Jazz-Kelly-Olynyk-Detroit-Pistons...
Ben Anderson

Report: Jazz Trade Bogdanovic To Pistons For Olynyk, Lee

The Utah Jazz are sending forward Bojan Bogdanovic to the Detroit Pistons for Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee according to reports.
2 days ago
Jared-Butler-Utah-Jazz-Real-Salt-Lake-Training-Session...
Tom Hackett

Utah Jazz Players Join Real Salt Lake For Joint Training Session

Utah Jazz players joined Real Salt Lake at America First Field to participate in a joint training session ahead of Real Salt Lake's friendly.
3 days ago
Lakers Legend Magic Johnson Predicts Jazz Not Done Making Moves