If the Los Angeles Lakers believe they still need to add to their roster to truly compete in the Western Conference this season, they might have a ready-made target. Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine lives and trains in Los Angeles during the offseason. He is also working with the Bulls to explore trade opportunities, per Shams Charania of The Athletic on November 14.
LaVine also is believed to have the Lakers on his list of appealing trade destinations.
“LaVine and his representation hold several preferred landing spots, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports on November 17. “Each team has registered some level of interest in the Bulls guard.“
The Lakers were linked to LaVine ahead of last season when he was an unrestricted free agent.
LaVine re-signed with the Bulls on a five-year, $215 million contract without taking visits with any other teams.
The decision made the most financial sense since the Bulls could offer him the largest contract. But since then, the Bulls have dangled the two-time All-Star in trade talks. He has declined to delve into the details. Despite several teams being eliminated as potential landing spots – including the Sixers, per Marc Stein of the Stein Line on November 16 – the list of interested teams could be lengthy.
Lakers Not Only Potential Zach LaVine Trade Destination
“LaVine also has an eye on joining the San Antonio Spurs, sources said, in order to pair with rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama and reunite with head coach Gregg Popovich, who oversaw the 2020 Team USA outfit that LaVine helped win a gold medal in Tokyo,” wrote Fischer.”
It would be tough enough to have to contend just against the two legendary coaches helming both the Heat and the Spurs.
But there could also be some sentimentality at play.
“There are several other contending situations LaVine would welcome joining, sources said, one being Sacramento,” wrote Fischer. The Kings signed LaVine to an offer sheet during his restricted free agency in 2018.”
Fischer notes there a different front office extended that offer sheet.
But LaVine took exception to having to get that offer sheet for the Bulls to step up to the plate with an offer.
“I’m disappointed that I had to get an offer sheet from another team,” LaVine said, per Marc Spears of ESPN and The Undefeated in July of 2018. “But Sacramento stepped up and made a strong impression. It appears that Sacramento wants me more than Chicago.”
Charania added the Toronto Raptors during an appearance on The Rally on November 17.
It is setting up to be quite the bidding war.
Lakers Facing Time Delay
Unless the Lakers want to part with one of LeBron James or Anthony Davis, the Lakers don’t have another player on a contract with a salary worth $3.7 million (Jalen Hood-Schifino) this season to include in any trades.
Rui Hachimura will follow suit on January 15. But his budding sensei-pupil relationship with James may influence the Lakers’ decision-making. At any rate, they need this to drag out at least another month before they can pounce. Once they can, though, there is still a belief they remain one of the top trade destinations for LaVine.