NBA Rumors: Ainge Squeezing Lakers "Like Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice"

With the latest rumors having the Utah Jazz interested in being a part of any Russell Westbrook deal in order to extract more draft capital, an old Boston Celtics/Los Angeles Lakers rivalry has been revived.

According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Jazz CEO Danny Ainge—the former player and top executive with the Celtics, hasn't let go of those long-held hard feelings towards his chief rival.

With Danny Ainge, anytime he’s involved with the Lakers, let’s be clear, Ainge is going to try to squeeze the Lakers like a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice. I don’t think there’s any way [Westbrook] is going to Utah without the two first-round picks. If anything, Ainge is going to try and get them both unprotected like he’s trying to do with the Knicks and get as many unprotected picks as possible (for Donovan Mitchell).

Those first-rounders are the two, and only two, that the Lakers own for the rest of the decade—in 2027 and 2029. L.A. has been adamant that they won't give up both of the picks for anything short of a deal that makes them true championship contenders this season. 

A three-team deal is a possibility, with either the Indiana Pacers involved, and their trade targets Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, or the New York Knicks, as part of a Donovan Mitchell trade.  

Whichever way this goes, it seems clear, as also noted by another NBA Insider, Marc Stein, that Ainge certainly covets those two Lakers picks. And he plans to 'squeeze them' dry, if he can. 

Photo: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports