We’re a month away from the date that re-signed NBA players can be traded, but the rumor mill has remained hot. One name at the top of nearly every team’s wish list is Zach LaVine. However, a new report claims that the Bulls star and his camp are interested in a move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The report came from Chicago Sun-Times writer Joe Cowley, who also noted that the Bulls haven’t found a market for LaVine yet. Despite that, Bulls Vice President Arturas Karnisovas isn’t concerned about the issue, but that could change if the situation lingers on.
“…if moving LaVine drags on longer than he hopes, his plans would be altered significantly. With the rest of the players who signed offseason deals eligible to be dealt after Jan. 15, Karnisovas ideally will have moved LaVine by or around that date, giving him at least 10 to 15 games to see what the post-LaVine Bulls look like and allowing him to make decisions on DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso.”
The latest rumors from Chicago coincide with recent reports that the Lakers are hesitant to make moves at the deadline, opting to evaluate the team once they get to full strength. Michael Scotto of HoopsHype noted that the purple and gold are also not actively shopping D’Angelo Russell, who would be the main piece in any deal for LaVine. Scotto added that Rui Hachimura, Christian Wood and Gabe Vincent could also be on the trading block.
Do the Lakers Need Zach LaVine?
The Lakers now stand at 15-10 (5th in the West) after a 122-119 win over the Spurs Wednesday night. There’s been no shortage of commentary connecting them to LaVine.
HoopsHype contributor Yossi Gozlan said that the Lakers make sense for LaVine at this point, which comes a month after the initial report that LaVine was open to a trade:
“So the question is, how much is Chicago going to require from the Lakers or any other team to trade him? If they’re not getting the type of value they want, are they comfortable just getting off that money and maybe taking just a little bit of value?”
Scotto added that the Lakers would need to “decide if having LaVine as the clear third guy at his salary is worth it, or do you try to do it more by committee like they did last year?”
The Lakers are close to getting their whole team healthy for the first time this season. It makes sense for Rob Pelinka and co. to evaluate the roster as trade season nears. If the team keeps their current trajectory going, they may not even consider a LaVine trade once February rolls around. The two star formula did wonders for them years ago, so why not stick to it now?
The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry also warned that the Lakers wouldn’t be as great of a fit as they seem:
“I wouldn’t call LaVine a perfect fit in L.A. That was Buddy Hield, and the Lakers fumbled that deal. LaVine sounds ideal next to LeBron because he can shoot. But put LaVine on the Lakers, stash him in the corner and see how that goes. What we might think is good for LaVine and what LaVine might want for LaVine could be vastly different.”
The Last Word
The LaVine sweepstakes could very well continue up until the trade deadline, and his trade market will make itself known in due time. The Lakers are right to hold off on potential moves, as they begin to see their hard work come to fruition with a healthy roster. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”