Insider Says CBA Will Impact Bulls Star Zach LaVine-to-Lakers Scenario

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty LeBron James #6 of Team LeBron dribbles against Zach LaVine #8 of Team Durant

Talk of Chicago Bulls star free agent Zach LaVine heading west to the Los Angeles Lakers just got another dose of reality. This has been a busy week of headlines for the Bulls.

The only real news has been the successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Most of the talk, however, has been about what he said to TMZ when swarmed by fans and paparazzi as he got into his car that same day.

Despite pointing out that his presence in the city should not have been a surprise considering he lives there, a lot of ears got hung up on him saying that he has “always been a big fan” of the Lakers.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks joined Keyshawn, JWill, & Max on May 26 to rain on that parade.

Living in La La Land

Marks was speaking with former Bulls draft pick Jay Williams on the matter. Williams cited the TMZ video and asked, quite simply, if there was any truth to LaVine winding up in a Lakers uniform next season.

The former Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager brought attention to the role the collective bargaining agreement will play.

“I just think it’s highly unlikely…The CBA makes it really hard…Whenever a guy signs a new contract in a sign-and-trade, and it’s for 120% more than his previous salary, the NBA uses 50% of that salary in a trade.”

LaVine is eligible for a five-year, $212 million max contract this offseason which would be an average of $42 million. That would work in the Lakers’ dream scenario of moving off of Russell Westbrook to bring in LaVine.

But Marks goes on to explain what the money would actually look like due to the NBA’s base compensation rule.

“It’s not like you’re matching $36 [million] for, whatever, $47 [million]. Zach LaVine’s salary in a sign-and-trade is basically $18-19 million…it just makes it highly complicated, makes it highly unlikely.”

It is not just figuring out the math of adding LaVine that Marks says will weigh in the decision. He also cites the Lakers’ financial situation.

“I think the Lakers, certainly with the hard cap that they would be facing, it’s tough…Anything is possible. But it makes it extremely unlikely.”

Another Dose of Reality

Marks’ comments come some 48 hours after NBC Sports Chicago Bulls commentator Stacey King debunked the myth of friction between LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. King vehemently denied such a rift and repeatedly spoke of how close the group is.

Those sentiments seem more in line with what we witnessed between the two all season long.

The other part that has been discussed in all of this, but perhaps not enough, is the money that would be left on the table were he to outright sign elsewhere.

Marks highlighted that in his appearance.

“LaVine’s situation is interesting because him leaving Chicago would be basically $55 million that he’s leaving on the table. For a guy that’s coming off of knee surgery, has dealt with a little bit of health issues, that’s a lot.”

Marks stopped short of calling the move impossible noting how chaotic the league can be at times. It’s a notion that NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C, Johnson tempered his expectaions that LaVine re-signs with in an appearacne on “Unfiltered” with David Kaplan.

But “NBA Front Office Podcast” host and Forbes contributor, Keith Smith, used his disdain for guacamole to express his doubt about LaVine-to-Lakers happening this offseason.

“If Zach LaVine is a Laker at the start of next season – which means he would have to go there somehow this offseason – I will eat a whole bunch of guacamole live on the show”

His co-host, Trevor Lane — who is a Lakers fan — said he was not taking any of the TMZ events to mean anything substantial with regards to LaVine joining the Lakers.

Summer of Misinformation

Heavy’s Sean Deveney reported that league executives believe much of the smoke surrounding LaVine this offseason has been drummed up by his agency, Klutch Sports. Their goal is to get people talking about their client and, to this point, mission accomplished.

The layers of complexity behind LaVine going to Los Angeles to join Anthony Davis and LeBron James are only outdone by rumors he would go to a team facing a rebuild.

Even the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs do not offer LaVine the ability to win over what the Bulls can. Neither of them is a “Zach LaVine away” from a championship.

And his incumbent team has already shown a willingness and ability to make moves for the better.

Hopefully, this all resolves sooner than later with LaVine donning a Bulls jersey next season.

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