It has long been rumored that the Chicago Bulls are ready to part ways with two-time All-Star Zach LaVine. A couple of teams have been mentioned as potential landing spots, but the one that continues to come up most is the Los Angeles Lakers.
The recent struggles of the Lakers, who have fallen under .500, are likely contributing to the whispers as it feels like a change is needed. While LaVine does have flaws, his talent is undeniable and he would provide a boost for the Lakers with what he brings to the table.
One issue in acquiring LaVine, however, is his max contract that still has two more guaranteed years after this season plus a player option for nearly $49 million for 2026-27. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers are hesitant to complete a LaVine trade because of his contract terms:
The market for Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine still has been quiet, as interested teams remain reluctant to absorb the four seasons and roughly $180 million remaining on his contract. LaVine is trending toward a return Friday from a weeks-long absence due to right foot inflammation. Perhaps a strong return to play, with the defensive effort he once showed for Team USA that intrigued NBA evaluators, could add some momentum for a LaVine deal. The struggling Lakers do forecast as the most sensible landing spot for the 28-year-old former All-Star, even though Los Angeles, too, has so far indicated a hesitancy to take on LaVine’s money, sources said.
That is a lot of money to commit to someone who has yet to perform in a big way on the postseason stage, not to mention LaVine’s injury history. The Lakers have enough problems with health as it is and LaVine is only just about to return from a foot injury.
That being said, LaVine’s skillset is exactly what the Lakers need as an offensive force who can stretch the floor, create for himself and others, and is great in transition. The team clearly needs to make a change as things have not been clicking so the organization will have to very carefully weigh their options and figure out the best move.
Austin Reaves says Lakers must improve 3-point shooting
One of the areas where LaVine could conceivably help the Lakers is with their shooting beyond the arc. The team currently ranks 24th in the NBA in 3-point percentage and 28th in 3-pointers made per game and Austin Reaves knows the team must get better.
“If you just look at the statsheet, we got to shoot the ball better,” Reaves said. “We shot 13% (from 3-point range) tonight, you’re not gonna win many games when you do that. We had a conversation after we won the In-Season Tournament, I think we only made two 3s that game or two 3s the game against New Orleans, I can’t remember which one it was. But that’s just not the recipe to (win) in basketball today.
“You got to shoot the 3 well, obviously turnovers have been an issue. But once we start making 3s at a good percentage then everything will open up, especially for Bron and AD. So we have to do our part in helping them out because they draw so much attention.”
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