What a Lakers, Bulls trade with LaVine could look like
Everyone and their mother knows the trade package that the Los Angeles Lakers have to offer. They have Russell Westbrook‘s massive $47 million expiring contract and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. Their drafts before then are tied up from the Anthony Davis trade. If a team trades with the Lakers, they are doing so because of the upside of those future picks.
Zach LaVine makes $37 million in the first year of his maximum contract, so at least one other player would need to be added to the deal to make the money work for the Bulls, who sit $1.7 million under the luxury tax line and won’t want to push over. Here is one such construction the Lakers could pitch to the Bulls:
The Lakers are stuck in the lurch of another disappointing season, with an aging LeBron James whose title for contending is growing smaller and smaller with each passing season. Yet they can’t trick themselves into believing they are one player away from contention, not with a 17-21 record.
Trading for an All-Star like Zach LaVine would allow them to follow both paths, making a big swing to mollify James and make them competitive this season while setting themselves up to fight for a title next season. Adding another injury-prone player in LaVine is certainly a risk, but the upside is that the Lakers have a true third star to help keep that window propped open.
This deal would also work if the Lakers asked for Alex Caruso instead of Coby White and Andre Drummond, but the Bulls probably say no and try to shop Caruso for a first-round pick elsewhere.