We know that the Chicago Bulls are working with star wing Zach LaVine on a trade. We also know that the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in the high-scoring veteran.
Whether anything can come to fruition on this end remains very much to be seen. The Lakers — coming off a 44-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night — don’t necessarily have the assets to entice Chicago.
At the very least, Los Angeles would have to gut its roster to acquire the two-time All-Star. We’re now hearing more about this courtesy of The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The NBA insider notes that Chicago would demand guard Austin Reaves in any trade involving LaVine.
Another earlier report indicated that any Lakers offer for LaVine would be centered around D’Angelo Russell without Reaves being offered up. With LaVine’s market narrowing due to his bloated five-year, $215 million contract and injury history, talks between the two sides could very well become complicated.
Los Angeles Lakers looking to add Zach LaVine, third star
Charania notes that it is a goal of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka to get that third star to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This has been the case for some time now.
Los Angeles currently boasts a pedestrian 10-8 record. Its supporting cast behind James and Davis has struggled big time. That includes Cam Reddish (42% shooting) and Gabe Vincent (39% shooting) failing to do their thing after joining the organization during free agency.
As for the 25-year-old Reaves, he re-signed on a four-year, $53.8 million contract during the summer. After some initial struggles, the former undrafted free agent has picked it up recently (16.0 PPG, 52% shooting past five games).
At issue here is making salaries match for a Lakers team that’s hard-capped. LaVine is earning $40 million this season. Acquiring him would require bringing in the 120% rule when it comes to matching salaries.
It’s in this that Reaves ($12 million salary) wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to acquire LaVine. Said deal would require a combination of Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent and the aforementioned Russell heading to Chicago.
Pelinka and Co. sought out to add to Los Angeles’ depth this past summer. Blowing that up for LaVine might not make sense. This is especially true if Los Angeles has to part with Reaves to make it work.
- Zach LaVine stats (2023-24): 22.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.4 APG, 45% shooting, 34% 3-point
The other aspect to look at here is whether Chicago would accept a package surrounding Reaves without any real draft compensation heading back. The Lakers can’t offer up a first-round pick until 2029.
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Author: Vincent Frank