The Los Angeles Lakers turned around their season after the NBA trade deadline but head into the summer with plenty of questions about the future of their roster. The Lakers are projected to have $29.5 million in cap space, per Spotrac.
Yet, free agency is not the only way for Los Angeles to improve their roster going into the 2023-24 season. Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley labeled the following three players as potential trade targets for the Lakers: Pacers guard Buddy Hield, Mavericks star Kyrie Irving (sign-and-trade) and Bulls star Zach LaVine. For the purposes of this story, we will focus on LaVine who continues to be tied to the Lakers.
“If L.A. could snag a top-shelf target like Zach LaVine this summer, that’s the kind of move that could mold this team from a super-long-shot championship hopeful into a legitimate title contender,” Buckley wrote on May 22, 2023.
“And it hardly feels impossible. The Bulls might be ready to rebuild after investing heavily in this core and seeing zero return on that investment, and that process would grow exponentially easier without LaVine. It’s hard to bottom out as long as he’s on the roster, and it’s hard to gain financial flexibility with his massive money on the books.”
Lakers Rumors: Bulls Star Zach LaVine Still Has 4 Seasons Remaining on a $215 Million Contract
This is not the first time the Lakers have been tied to LaVine, but the question is what Los Angeles can offer Chicago that would be enticing. The Lakers are unlikely to move either LeBron James or Anthony Davis leaving little appealing options for the Bulls.
Chicago may want to start over and desire to move off of LaVine’s five-year, $215 million contract. LaVine still has four seasons remaining on his deal and is slated to have a $40 million salary for the 2023-24 season. LaVine averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 37.5% from long range in 77 starts this past season.
Western Conference Exec: Lakers Could Push for Bulls Trade With Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan
Los Angeles faces decisions on several of their own key free agents including Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schröder. Back in March, one Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney that LaVine could be a name to watch for the Lakers if the Bulls decide to push reset on their franchise.
“Rui is a tough call and they could give him a short deal, a make-good kind of offer,” the league exec said at the time. “He wanted something around $15 million per year or more and there is just no way to justify that. But Mo Bamba, he is a guy to look at around the draft. They probably will guarantee him even though he is not playing all that much and look to bring in a first-round pick in a trade.
“Max Christie, too, he has been impressive early on, if he can fill in, he has a lot of 3-and-D potential. He could be a trade chip if there is a star available around the draft, you could imagine him and Bamba as part of a package for Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan if the Bulls wanted to go that route.”