One of the best shooting guards in the NBA has been considered the Los Angeles Lakers‘ “dream offseason trade target.”
“It’s possible the Los Angeles Lakers feel good enough about their post-trade-deadline turnaround to dismiss the idea of making radical changes to their roster,” Buckley wrote. “Then again, their nightly scramble for offensive production this postseason (10th in efficiency) could nudge them toward finding a much more reliable third option with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Zach LaVine could handle that role—if not exceed it. The UCLA product is among the Association’s most dynamic offensive weapons. He can launch from anywhere, create shots for himself and his teammates and ferociously finish at the basket. He is also increasingly well-versed in the art of sharing the floor with other high-volume offensive contributors, like DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević.
“LaVine has leaned on that support to become more selective, yielding both efficient scoring (48.5/37.5/84.8 shooting) and fewer giveaways (2.5 turnovers, fewest since 2017-18). And since that trio hasn’t done a lot of winning, the Chicago Bulls could be more open to change than they’ll publicly admit.”
LaVine is one of the top scorers in the NBA. The two-time All-Star averaged 24.8 points in 2022-23 for the Bulls while shooting 48.5% from the field, 37.5% from beyond the arc and 84.8% from the free-throw line. LaVine has the same agent (Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group) as Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, so he’s been heavily linked to the purple and gold.
The Bulls missed the playoffs this season, so they could embark on a rebuild this offseason. LaVine signed a five-year, $215.2 million deal with Chicago in July 2022. He will make $40.1 million next season.
Zach LaVine ‘Wants to Go to the Lakers’
An Eastern Conference executive told Heavy Sports insider Sean Deveney in December 2022 that LaVine “wants to go to the Lakers.” LaVine went to college at UCLA and the two-time Slam Dunk champion told TMZ Sports in May 2022 that he’s always been a big fan of the Lakers.
“LaVine wants to go to the Lakers, that has been pretty clear for a while now,” the exec said. “The agents (from Klutch Sports) want him to be in Los Angeles, he is a UCLA guy and they did some rattling about his contract last offseason, to kind of lay the groundwork if things blew up. Which they seem to be doing.”
LaVine has career averages of 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Bulls. Since the Washington native is a career 38.4% shooter from 3-point land, he projects to be a good fit next to James and Davis.
Are the Bulls & Zach LaVine Headed for a Split?
Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reported in December 2022 that LaVine and the Bulls were not “seeing eye-to-eye.” Although Chicago won one play-in game against the Toronto Raptors, the team ended up losing to the Miami Heat in the second play-in game and didn’t qualify for the 2023 postseason.
If LaVine becomes available in trade talks this summer, the Lakers are expected to pursue a deal for him, sources told Heavy Sports. It’s unknown yet if the Bulls will rebuild the roster or run it back with LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic as the team’s core.