Despite the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers don’t appear to have any glaring holes on their roster, that hasn’t stopped them from being brought up in trade speculation. While the Lakers are very good right now, every team could always get better. One player who could be on the move before the trade deadline is Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine.
The 25-year-old is in the midst of a career year. He’s averaging 28.2 points a game, which is fifth-best in the NBA. The problem is that he’s playing for a Bulls team that is currently the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. The team could look to trade him while his value is at an all-time high. However, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that the Lakers should avoid a potential trade for LaVine:
To get LaVine, the Lakers would surely have to deplete their depth and unload some draft picks far off in the future—picks that wouldn’t convey until after James and perhaps Davis would presumably be out of L.A. Even then, it’s unclear if that would be enough to get LaVine (assuming the Bulls are even willing to move him).
It would be a splashy move, sure, but it could fall short in the substance department.
Finding a young third star could be a smart move for the Lakers eventually. LeBron James isn’t going to play forever and Anthony Davis will need a new running mate. That said, LaVine isn’t the type of player the Lakers need to be targeting right now. He’s an excellent scorer but wouldn’t bring much on the defensive side of the ball. Also, if the Bulls want to trade LaVine, Los Angeles would be a terrible partner for them. Trading their best player would mean a rebuild is imminent. The Lakers have almost no draft picks to offer them. Unless Chicago is incredibly high on Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker, a trade between the two teams isn’t going to happen.
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Wayne Ellington & Hassan Whiteside Bad Fits?
In Buckley’s piece, he also said that the Lakers should also avoid Detroit Pistons guard Wayne Ellington and Sacramento Kings center Hassan Whiteside. Ellington has been floated as a potential trade target for Los Angeles but it’s hard to see how he’d make an impact compared to who the team would have to give up to get him.
If there’s anything the Lakers need, it’s more size. Whiteside would bring that but he’s not the consistent defender he once was. Figuring out how to trade for him is probably more trouble than it’s worth.
Lakers Could Stay Put at Trade Deadline
The Lakers are almost always involved with a litany of trade rumors at the deadline. This year feels a little different, though. They have a loaded roster right now and are struggling to give minutes to some of their key players from last season.
Adding more cooks in the kitchen doesn’t sound like the right move. If anything, the Lakers should consider moving off a player like Wes Matthews or Markieff Morris to try and reclaim some draft capital. Both of those men are good players but they aren’t seeing the floor a lot right now. Adding a player like Ellington or Whiteside would just make things more complicated, which is not what the Lakers need.