In the proposed trade, the Lakers would acquire Zach LaVine, the Bulls would get Julius Randle and Evan Fournier and the Knicks would receive Westbrook and two first-round picks.
LaVine becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason. For the Lakers to acquire him, they would have to complete a sign-and-trade deal and Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes it’s possible for the purple and gold to pair LaVine with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
How Can Lakers Get LaVine?
LaVine has the same agent as James and Davis: Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Per Pincus, there is a way for the Lakers to acquire LaVine. However, it would be “very difficult.”
“Los Angeles would need to trade Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn (expected to opt in at $5.3 million) and Westbrook without bringing back salary. Subsequently, assuming LaVine would take a sizable discount to fit into space the Lakers aren’t likely to have is nonsense,” Pincus wrote. “The only real solution would be a sign-and-trade, which presents different issues, most notably an approximate $155.7 million hard spending limit for the 2022-23 season. With just James, Davis and LaVine under contract, the Lakers would only have $36.6 million to flesh out the remainder of the roster. Keeping Westbrook and his $47.1 million is a non-starter.
“Even if Chicago were open to a one-to-one swap of LaVine for Westbrook (unlikely), the math wouldn’t work. With LaVine getting a significant raise, his outgoing trade value to the Bulls would be his 2021-22 salary of $19.5 million—$18.1 million short in contracts to match for Westbrook.”
The Lakers have to get rid of Westbrook’s contract to acquire LaVine, who averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Bulls this season. The UCLA product once said he would love to play with James. LaVine also recently revealed that he plans to “enjoy free agency.”
LaVine on Free Agency
LaVine told Bulls reporters during his exit interview that he plans to enjoy free agency. The two-time All-Star and two-time Slam Dunk champion said he is going to stay “open-eyed.”
“It’s a big decision, not just for me, but for my family,” LaVine said. “Obviously, I’m going to take my time and look into everything, talk with my agent. I think it’s an opportunity not a lot of people in my situation actually get to get to and I think it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it.
“I plan to enjoy free agency with what it is as a whole. I think you’re going to have to experience A-Z without making any fast decisions. I think that’s something that me and Rich get to go through and experience. … I don’t think I’m going to have to be in negotiations. They’re going to have to talk to Rich. For me, I get to sit back and figure it out from that point.”
LaVine can sign a five-year deal worth around $200 million with the Bulls or a four-year contract worth about $160 million with another team this offseason. Based on what Pincus wrote, it looks like the Lakers have to free up major cap space to acquire the Washington native.