The 2024 NBA Trade Deadline is less than a week away!
Sitting at 23-26 and ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, it has been a disappointing 2023-24 campaign for the Chicago Bulls. Amid the team’s struggles, Bulls two-time All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine has found himself involved in trade rumors.
While the Bulls are “motivated to find the right deal” and LaVine and his representation have expressed an “openness to being moved” ahead of the deadline, “news on the LaVine trade front was quiet,” as of earlier this week according to K.C Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
Currently in the second season of a five-year, $215 million max contract extension he signed in 2022, LaVine’s bloated salary has negatively impacted his perceived value around the league. While he is a gifted scorer and athlete, he is a liability on the defensive end of the floor.
Not to mention, LaVine is currently tending to a nagging right foot injury that continues to plague him this season, being ruled out for at least another week:
The Bulls are likely going to have to sell LaVine for pennies on the dollar if they’re serious about trading him, with these three trade packages potentially serving as the best they could get.
3. Zach LaVine joins the Los Angeles Lakers to form a new big 3
The Los Angeles Lakers have been mentioned in virtually every trade rumor this season with the hope of upgrading their supporting cast alongside their superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With James in Year 21 of his illustrious career, there is a sense of urgency in Los Angeles to capitalize on their current championship window. Here, they take a big swing for LaVine to form a new big three.
The Lakers have lacked a consistent playmaking, shot-creating scoring threat beyond James and Davis, which LaVine could provide.
Despite a down season where he is averaging 19.5 points per game (his lowest output since 2017-18), LaVine is a proven three-level scorer who can beat you off the dribble or as a catch-and-shoot player.
While the Lakers have been most heavily linked to Atlanta Hawks combo guard Dejounte Murray, conversations have stalled for various reasons – the inclusion of Los Angeles’ 2029 first-round pick and/or Austin Reaves combined with Atlanta’s lack of interest in D’Angelo Russell.
In this scenario, the Lakers take LaVine off Chicago’s hands while keeping Reaves and their first-round pick. Additionally, they find a viable suitor to take on Russell’s contract, which is widely regarded as a negative asset across the league.
The Bulls essentially get a first-round pick in the form of the No. 17 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft Jalen Hood-Schifino, who has failed to carve a consistent role with the Lakers as a rookie.
Arguably the most critical aspect of this trade is 2022-23 All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso reuniting with James, Davis, and company in Los Angeles as part of the deal, which would be a huge boon for the Lakers.