Another day has dawned and with it, another Zach LaVine to the Los Angeles Lakers trade rumor is being pushed onto our social media feeds. Just like clockwork, whenever the Lakers encounter a bump in the road, you can bet money there will be someone with access to the internet that swears all they need is the Chicago Bulls to finally cave and deal LaVine to LA for peanuts.
Although they’re presently preoccupied with their pursuit of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has taken the liberty to begin cooking up the “dream trade target” for each team to return better next season — even those of whom are still competing for a championship right now.
If you’ve been following along with the biggest NBA trade rumors over the past few years, this should hardly be news to you. LaVine has repeatedly been pegged as a player the Lakers have an interest in due to his offensive capabilities and his ties with southern California.
Buckley offers his justification as to why he thinks LaVine is the missing piece for a Lakers team in need of a true ‘Big 3’.
"“The UCLA product is among the Association’s most dynamic offensive weapons. He can launch from anywhere, create shots for himself and his teammates and ferociously finish at the basket. He is also increasingly well-versed in the art of sharing the floor with other high-volume offensive contributors, like DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević. LaVine has leaned on that support to become more selective, yielding both efficient scoring (48.5/37.5/84.8 shooting) and fewer giveaways (2.5 turnovers, fewest since 2017-18). And since that trio hasn’t done a lot of winning, the Chicago Bulls could be more open to change than they’ll publicly admit.”"
If the Lakers fall short of a championship this season, expect them to resume their pursuit of Bulls star Zach LaVine.
I can definitely see why Lakers fans could get behind this. Having a player like LaVine around would help keep the Lakers afloat in the regular season while LeBron James and Anthony Davis prioritize their health and conserving energy for the postseason. When the playoffs roll around, Zach would be without a doubt the most dangerous third option in the league, that Lakers team would simply be an embarrassment of riches in terms of star power.
That being said, this strategy that has been employed by LA over the past few years has left them practically devoid of any interesting young assets or draft capital. Yes, LaVine may be the dream target for the Lakers, but they have nothing reasonable to offer the Bulls that any other team couldn’t beat. In fact, LeBron and Davis are the only players on LA’s roster to have their contracts guaranteed for next season, they simply don’t have any cost-controlled talent to offer the Bulls even if they wanted to.
Don’t worry, Buckley’s piece wasn’t entirely devoted to how the Lakers could pilfer the Bulls for their best talent. As for Chicago’s “dream” trade target, he suggests Memphis Grizzlies point guard Tyus Jones as the ideal piece this Bulls team is missing.
"“If the Bulls want to win, they have to address their Lonzo Ball-sized hole in the backcourt. Tyus Jones isn’t a carbon copy of the injured floor general, but he is an expert decision-maker and feisty defender. He seems good enough to start—in places where All-Star point guards don’t already reside, that is—with career per-36-minute averages of 12.7 points and 7.4 assists against only 1.4 turnovers.”"
I can’t say I disagree in the slightest here. In fact, I’ve been deeply entrenched in the Tyus Jones bandwagon for quite some time now. Although I’d love to have him on this squad, I ultimately don’t think Chicago has the assets nor does Memphis have the willingness to get a deal like this done. Ironically, the same factors that apply to a potential Lakers-LaVine deal are why this one won’t happen either.
These trades definitely make sense on paper. LaVine would address several problems for the Lakers just as Jones would do the same for the Bulls. In the real world, however, there’s not enough traction to really get the wheels moving here. My apologies [writer name], you’ll just have to keep dreaming for now.