All-Star Free Agent Wants to Be a Laker: ‘That’s Not Really a Secret’

darvin ham rob pelinka

Getty Darvin Ham with Rob Pelinka.

The NBA season is officially over with the Golden State Warriors taking down the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Now that games are done being played, teams can start getting serious about roster construction for next season. The Los Angeles Lakers have a new head coach in Darvin Ham and now it’s time to set him up for success.

The team has limited flexibility with three max players on the roster in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Out of the three, the Lakers would mostly want to get off of Westbrook’s contract. He’s set to make $47 million next season once he picks up his player option. He’s not a good fit with the current roster and the Lakers would be better off with a different player.

One guy who would certainly be a better fit is Zach LaVine. The two-time All-Star with the Chicago Bulls is going to hit free agency soon and can pick his team. Signs are pointing to him staying in Chicago but he’s always had eyes on the Lakers. He recently admitted that he’s always been a fan of the team but Los Angeles doesn’t have flexibility right now. Sean Deveney of recently spoke to a Western Conference executive who had some interesting things to say about LaVine possibly being a Laker.

“Zach would like to be in L.A. He wants to be a Laker. That’s not really a secret,” the executive said. “But the roster just is not going to allow for it. The Bulls have a soft spot for Anthony Davis, he is a Chicago guy, that goes up to the ownership. If the Lakers put a swap of AD and LaVine on the table, sure, the Bulls have to look at that.

“But LaVine, everything points to him going back and signing on with Chicago, getting paid. Give it a year or so and if things don’t keep moving forward with the Bulls, then you could start having him pushing for a Lakers trade. The Lakers will be off of Westbrook’s contract, they will have more flexibility.”

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Any Way Lakers Can Get LaVine While Keeping AD?

LaVine is a Klutch Sports client, which means he shares an agent with LeBron and Davis. Rich Paul almost certainly likes the idea of all three playing on the same team. LaVine would also be a great fit with them due to his career 38.6% shooting from three. Unfortunately, the only way the Lakers can get LaVine this offseason is if they find a trade for Westbrook.

Chicago wouldn’t want the former MVP but if they feel LaVine is going to leave anyway, they might help facilitate a sign-and-trade to get something in return. Perhaps a three-team trade that sees Westbrook back with Oklahoma City, LaVine goes to Los Angeles while the Bulls get a different Chicago native in Talen Horton-Tucker. The Lakers would give the Thunder their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks for taking Westbrook off their hands.

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Adding LaVine Would Make Lakers Title Contenders Again

Though signs are pointing towards LaVine signing a huge contract with the Bulls, the Lakers would be foolish not to exhaust every option in trying to get him. Landing him makes them title contenders again and possibly even title favorites. Not only that, but then they’d have a young star to pair with Davis for the next several years. A 29-year-old Davis with a 27-year-old LaVine keeps the Lakers relevant for at least another five years.

While LaVine isn’t much of a defender, he’s one of the NBA’s best scorers. He also helps with floor spacing due to his shooting ability. As unlikely as it seems he ends up in Los Angeles this offseason, don’t discredit Rich Paul’s ability to get his clients where they want to be. If LaVine wants to be a Laker, Paul could pull some strings to make it happen.

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