It has been reported by multiple different sports media outlets that both the Chicago Bulls and Zach LaVine are open to moving on from each other in a potential trade deal. This news dropped coming after the Bulls’ 4-7 start to the season, and just the day after LaVine and DeMar DeRozan combined shooting 8-33 from the field in the 118-109 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, including 2-13 from beyond the arc.
Since then, things have only gotten worse, as the Bulls have dropped a pair of home games to the Orlando Magic and have sunken to 4-9 and 12th place in the Eastern Conference. It is widely believed around the leagues’ front offices that the Chicago Bulls are nearing a complete blowup of the team after the slow start to the 2023-24 season.
This core of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic has proven to not work well together in the past three seasons, and inevitably some of them may be moved this season before the deadline. LaVine is likely to be the first out, maybe DeMar is moved this season as well. This is especially true due to DeMar’s age, the fact he’s in the last year of his contract, and the uncertainty of the organization moving forward.
Here’s a look at what I believe to be the three most likely trade destinations in any potential Zach LaVine trade this season.
Zach LaVine will likely be playing for one of these 3 teams if the Bulls decide to trade him.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
As long as LeBron James is still playing basketball in Los Angeles, the Lakers will continue to be in championship-chasing mode. Aside from the “Mickey Mouse Ring” that the Lakers won in 2020 — during the COVID-19 bubble where the NBA had to carry out the rest of its season during the pandemic — they have failed to achieve the same degree of playoff success in the King James era.
In what appears to be an annual tradition at this point, the Lakers are always linked to trading for an All-Star, trying to find something that clicks in Los Angeles while LeBron is still playing at a high level. In order for the Lakers to acquire Zach LaVine, they will have to give up at least two of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Rui Hachimura.
The Lakers do not have the draft capital to trade many picks for LaVine, so a package that sends LaVine to Los Angeles would likely have to include Russell and other players. The Lakers have also been reported to have interest in Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Los Angeles pivot in a different direction and pull off a trade with Chicago, even if that trade isn’t for LaVine.