Lakers Could Trade for $301 Million All-Star, per Insider

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka (left) and head coach Darvin Ham at a press conference

Getty Lakers GM Rob Pelinka (left) and head coach Darvin Ham at a press conference

The Los Angeles Lakers could trade for a $301 million All-Star, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

On December 14, Fischer wrote that the Lakers are “certainly keeping an eye trained toward” the  Chicago Bulls‘ developments. If the Bulls continue to struggle, they could trade All-Stars DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. Fischer believes LaVine is a player the Lakers could trade for.

“The Lakers are certainly keeping an eye trained toward the Bulls’ developments,” Fischer wrote. “A player like Zach LaVine would satisfy Los Angeles’ dreamiest returns for the two future first-round picks Rob Pelinka’s front office has left in its stable, although the murmured idea of flipping Russell Westbrook for Vucevic and DeRozan would appear a far more realistic outcome if Chicago does ultimately pivot from its postseason aspirations.”

LaVine can’t be traded until January 15 since he signed a new contract in July. The two-time All-Star, who is averaging 22.0 points this season, agreed to a five-year, $215.2 million deal with the Bulls. LaVine, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group.

LaVine, 27, went to college at UCLA and the electric shooting guard told TMZ in May that he’s always been a big fan of the Lakers. He will have earned more than $301 million in his career once his current contract expires.

How Can the Lakers Get Zach LaVine?

Under CBA rules, the Lakers can trade Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Max Christie and their two draft picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Bulls for LaVine, who has been heavily linked to the purple and gold ever since signing with Klutch Sports Group.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on December 12 that the Lakers (11-16) will only trade their two future draft picks for championship-altering players. It appears Los Angeles’ front office will have to decide internally if LaVine fits that bill should Chicago make the two-time dunk champion available in trade talks.

“Moving (Russell) Westbrook to the sixth-man role has worked brilliantly for first-time head coach Darvin Ham,” Charania wrote. “In addition, the Lakers have made clear they’re prioritizing championship-altering players for their trade-eligible two first-round picks (2027, 2029). It remains to be seen who could become available as the season goes on.”

Why Can’t the Lakers Trade Russell Westbrook to the Bulls for Zach LaVine?

The Lakers could trade Russell Westbrook and draft picks to the Bulls for LaVine under CBA rules. However, according to a December 9 report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bulls aren’t interested in acquiring Westbrook despite the one-time MVP and future Hall of Famer being on an expiring contract.

“So while the Lakers might be looking to make a big trade and have their eyes on the Bulls’ roster, the feeling isn’t mutual,” Cowley wrote. “According to a source, executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has no interest in acquiring Russell Westbrook and his expiring contract, even if it means adding draft picks.”

Teams are “watching Chicago very closely” as the Bulls continue to struggle this season, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. Chicago is only 11-16 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings after winning 46 games last season behind the stellar play of LaVine.

“Everyone is watching Chicago very closely,” one NBA source told Pincus on December 10. “They’re so poorly constructed, they need to blow it up.”

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