The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a 125-110 loss to the Sacramento Kings which snapped their winning streak at three games. It also did nothing to quell increasing trade rumors. They have already been linked to Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine, checking in as the betting favorites to land the two-time All-Star at one point.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic notes that while the Lakers’ interest in LaVine is “real,” it is only “for the right price”. What that price is remains unclear. However, Buha did state the Lakers are drawing the line at the idea of including Austin Reaves in any trade.
“The Lakers aren’t interested in including Reaves in a potential LaVine deal despite his recent move to the bench, according to multiple team sources,” Buha wrote on November 16.
This is notable for any potential trades.
The Lakers already have to wait until December 15 for players such as D’Angelo Russell and Gabe Vincent, and January 15 for Reaves and Rui Hachimura to become trade-eligible. The only players that they can use to match salaries in a trade are LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Neither of them are on the trading block.
Buha also reported that the Lakers wouldn’t just be eyeing LaVine for a potential trade.
“The Lakers have exhibited interest in DeRozan and, to a lesser extent, LaVine for several years,” Buha wrote. “Meanwhile, Caruso’s departure in the summer of 2021 remains a thorny topic around the organization.”
LaVine, 28, lives and trains in Los Angeles during the offseason. He is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract – which includes a 15% trade kicker – that Buha says is the Lakers’ “biggest concern” if they were to acquire him. Buha also cites LaVine’s defensive deficiencies as a potential red flag.
DeRozan, 34, is a native of Compton. He also thought he would be a Laker before joining the Bulls ahead of the 2021-22 season.
He is currently playing out the final year of a three-year, $81.9 million contract.
Lakers Could Face Competition for Alex Caruso
Caruso, 29, helped the Lakers win a championship in 2019-20. But he left in free agency following the 2020-21 season after the Lakers offered him a lower-than-expected offer. He signed a four-year, $36.9 million contract with the Bulls in free agency and is still coveted in league circles.
“Alex Caruso is the Bull that most teams would want,” Stein said on the “thisleague UNCUT” podcast on November 16. “If the Bulls decided to make Alex Caruso available, the line of teams chasing him would stretch into double digits.”
Lakers-Bulls Trade ‘Several Weeks Away’
“In any event, any potential Lavine trade — and/or one involving DeRozan and/or Caruso — is several weeks away at a minimum,” wrote Buha. “The Lakers’ play between now and Dec. 15, but more likely Jan. 15, will ultimately determine which of their players are made available in a trade and whether they decide to pursue a bigger or smaller move.”
The “most likely” configuration of a deal between the Bulls and Lakers would include Russell and one of Hachimura or Vincent, plus another player and draft capital, per Buha. He also notes that the Lakers prefer to expand such a deal to include Caruso.
That could be an issue with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reporting there has been no indication the Bulls are looking to move Caruso.
Chicago’s current stance could work in the Lakers’ favor.
“Would the Bulls be willing to wait for one-to-two months — and pass on potentially better offers — just to move LaVine to Los Angeles,” Buha questioned.