As the trade deadline approaches, the rumors start picking up steam. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Since his first day of free agency, Zach LaVine has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers. Signing with Chicago made the most sense at the time since the Bulls could offer him the most money and the most years, but that doesn’t mean LaVine’s name still isn’t in rumors to join the Lakers through the trade market. A few weeks ago, Sean Deveney from The Heavy released a quote from an NBA executive claiming LaVine could be forcing his way to the Lakers. The story was taken seriously, considering LaVine is represented by Rich Paul from Klutch Sports. He infamously had Anthony Davis traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Lakers. This time, he could be laying the groundwork to send LaVine to Los Angeles. Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks from ESPN have given their thoughts on LaVine joining the Lakers before the deadline.
“LaVine wants to go to the Lakers, that has been pretty clear for a while now,” and Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “The agents (from Klutch Sports) want him to be in Los Angeles, he is a UCLA guy and they did some rattling about his contract last offseason, to kind of lay the groundwork if things blew up. Which they seem to be doing.” – via the heavy
Zach Lowe’s Zach LaVine To The Lakers Trade Package
Bulls Trade: Zach LaVine
Lakers Trade: Russell Westbrook, 2027 and 2029 unprotected first-round picks
To summarize the conversation between Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks, they both agreed the Bulls would undoubtedly accept an offer of Russell Westbrook, 2027, and 2029 first-round unprotected picks for Zach LaVine. The Bulls can either buy out Westbrook or let his contract expire at the end of the season. Either way, the Bulls would be more focused on acquiring the two future draft picks with no restrictions. Those could be the most valuable assets in the NBA, not named Luka Doncic. The Bulls could flip those picks for a disgruntled star in the future or hold onto them to draft the next Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, possibly both, since there are two picks.
The Lakers upgrade their roster with a younger Zach LaVine over Russell Westbrook. The hope would be they make one last title run and then build around LaVine once LeBron James retires, making those future draft picks less valuable. LaVine is an upgrade for three-point shooting, but beyond that, it’s hard to imagine him in a role as an actual number 1 option on a playoff team. The Lakers are getting desperate and are running out of time, with no significant star showing signs of being disgruntled. The closest player to a superstar who might want out is LaVine. The Lakers might not have a choice besides pushing all their chips in for LaVine.