No one knows better than the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans how much LaVar Ball typically has to say.
During Lonzo Ball’s two seasons with the Lakers, LaVar insisted that L.A. remained his son’s team even after the arrival of LeBron James. Not long after, when reports of the looming Anthony Davis trade were ramping up, LaVar said he wanted Lonzo to be sent to Phoenix instead of New Orleans — and added he would “speak it into existence.”
Neither of the celebrity businessman’s predictions came true and those are hardly his only takes that have turned out to be wrong. Yet, LaVar keeps making the headlines, which is now the Chicago Bulls’ problem since Lonzo moved to Illinois last year.
However, his most recent one directly affects the Lakers. LaVar said on “The ReKap” with David Kaplan that Bulls star Zach LaVine will try to leave Chicago when he hits free agency this summer — and that L.A. is his most likely destination:
“He’s gone, and I’m gonna tell you why. Okay, it started off Zach LaVine, Zach LaVine, Zach LaVine. Okay, now you get hurt, a few things happen, and guess who’s doing all the big plays? All I hear is DeMar…DeMar, DeMar, DeMar. He don’t want to play second fiddle, and who don’t want to go to L.A.? He want to go back to the West Coast.”
Interestingly, NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson reports there could be a grain of truth to LaVar’s claims, saying LaVine doesn’t seem as certain to re-sign with the Bulls as previously considered and the Lakers are one of four teams he’s being linked to:
But this much is certain: His return to the Bulls no longer is considered the slam dunk it once was.
Whether that stems from LaVine’s own exit interview with local reporters in late April or a genuine belief he will leave the franchise that still can pay him the most is unknown. What’s certain is that league gossip throughout this week has linked LaVine to at least four teams — Lakers, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Hawks — with almost certainly more to follow.
The Lakers’ front office would need to navigate through countless salary cap constraints to simply be able to sign LaVine in the first place.
The effort would need to start with offloading Russell Westbrook’s monstrous $47 million salary in a three or four-team deal that would either send the 27-year-old directly to L.A. or generate a trade exception the Purple and Gold could later use to acquire the prolific guard.
So while it’s not impossible, there are significant hurdles in place, making it unlikely that LaVine winds up in L.A. He has previously stated a desire to play with James and is repped by Klutch Sports though, so maybe some magic can be worked by Rich Paul and Co.
Talen Horton-Tucker & Kendrick Nunn’s trade value could be higher than expected
The Lakers failed to strengthen their roster before the February trade deadline, as front offices around the league didn’t deem Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn’s contracts enough to facilitate a deal.
However, recent reports claim the two guards could still make for valuable assets this summer should L.A. decide to pursue new players through trade.
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