Lakers Considered Landing Spot for Disgruntled $215 Million Superstar

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham

Getty Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham

The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a landing spot for one of the brightest stars in the NBA.

In a December 19 column called “Ranking value of Bulls’ trade assets as season teeters,” K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago said Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine is a scorer the Lakers could use if the Bulls blow up their core and rebuild. Chicago has struggled this season after making the playoffs in 2021-22. The Bulls are only 11-18 despite having LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

“LaVine is enduring an up-and-down season that began with him in and out of the lineup as he dealt with a management plan for his twice-surgically repaired knee. Still, he, too, could be coveted by teams like the Lakers and Knicks should he be prominently placed in trade talks,” Johnson wrote. “LaVine signed a five-year, 5 million max contract this offseason. The Bulls likely would seek a package of young players and draft picks in return. However, given the history of LaVine’s knee, the amount of money left on his deal and signs that his on-court decision-making ability is regressing, it may be hard to find a suitor. And even in the event of a roster reset, his age (27) combined with his value being at a low point could compel the Bulls to prioritize the Bulls flipping other chips first.”

LaVine can’t be traded until January 15 since he signed a new contract in July. The two-time All-Star and two-time Slam Dunk champion agreed to a lucrative five-year, $215.2 million deal with the Bulls. LaVine has the same agent as Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Lakers Are Keeping an Eye on Zach LaVine

On December 14, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports wrote that the Lakers are “certainly keeping an eye trained toward” the Bulls‘ developments. Fischer, like Johnson, 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 told TMZ Sports in May that he’s always been a big fan of the Lakers. The UCLA product is averaging 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists this season while shooting 44.3% from the field, 36.5% from beyond the arc and 82.5% from the free-throw line.

Zach LaVine and the Bulls Are Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye

Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reported on December 20 that LaVine and the Bulls are not seeing eye-to-eye. LaVine and DeRozan also have some issues.

“Even more, multiple league sources and sources close to the organization say LaVine and the Bulls are not seeing eye-to-eye,” Charania and Mayberry reported. “Over the past few weeks, there’s been a palpable feeling across various parts of the franchise of a disconnect over LaVine’s situation in Chicago. All of this has been happening while LaVine is in the first season of a five-year, $215 million maximum deal that was signed this summer.”

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.

Read More