The latest Los Angeles Lakers rumors has the team potentially in the NBA trade market for Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports both the Bulls and LaVine share “increased openness” to a potential trade.
LaVine has been a player mentioned in connection with the Lakers for some time given the star would be yet another Klutch Sports client. Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey put together a potential Lakers trade package that sends LaVine to Hollywood.
The trade proposal has Los Angeles sending starting point guard D’Angelo Russell, forward Rui Hachimura and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino to Chicago for LaVine. The Bulls also get the following two pick swap options: a 2028 first rounder and a 2030 first-round pick (top-five protected).
Potential LA Lakers Trade Target Zach LaVine’s $40 Million Salary Is 29.45% of the Cap
While it is fun to feature LaVine photoshopped in a Lakers jersey, let’s examine the potential merits of a deal. LaVine is on a massive five-year, $215 million contract that has the potential to run through the 2026-27 season. The two-time All-Star has a player option for this final season and if exercised would earn a $48.9 million salary in 2026-27.
This deal likely runs beyond LeBron James’ window in Los Angeles and potentially even Anthony Davis. LaVine has a $40 million salary this season which accounts for 29.45% of the cap.
For the Lakers to mortgage their financial futures for LaVine, there would need to be a belief in the front office that the star is a missing piece for the Lakers getting another NBA title. LaVine averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 37.5% from long range during 77 starts in 2022-23.
NBA Rumors: Is Chicago Bulls Guard Zach LaVine the Missing Piece for Another Los Angeles Lakers Championship?
There are obvious pros to adding LaVine as it gives Los Angeles a legitimate third scoring option. LaVine is also a plus shooter, something the Lakers could use. Through the first 11 games, Los Angeles’ 34% puts the team near the bottom of the NBA at 23rd.
“This move makes L.A.’s backcourt bigger and more explosive, likely pushes Austin Reaves to the 1 (where he may fit better) and takes some offensive pressure off LeBron and AD,” Bailey wrote in a November 14 article entitled “Trade Packages for Zach LaVine and Every Top Chicago Bulls Trade Asset.”
“Losing Rui Hachimura isn’t ideal, but more salary has to head that way for this to work under the collective bargaining agreement. And Cam Reddish may have shown enough life in his last few appearances to feel OK about the depth on the wing.
“… At 28, with a fairly robust injury history and a slow start to 2023-24, LaVine isn’t likely to fetch the kind of superstar packages we’ve seen for others over the last couple years.”
Lakers Rumors: LA Labeled a Potential Landing Spot in Trade for Chicago Bulls Star Zach LaVine
It may be mortgaging the future, but the Lakers appear to at least have some interest in LaVine. NBA insider Marc Stein labeled the Lakers and Heat as two potential landing spots for a LaVine trade.
“It appears more feasible that teams such as Miami or the Los Angeles Lakers, rather than Philadelphia, could emerge with substantive trade interest in LaVine since those teams have a clearer need for an offensive infusion,” Stein wrote on November 15.
Should the Lakers take on LaVine’s $215 million contract in a blockbuster trade? Let us know in the comments.