Lakers' offer for LaVine looks better after blowing out Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Owners of a 21-24 record entering last night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a win would have significantly helped the Chicago Bulls climb back into the playoff picture. That's not the only reason why this was a must-watch game, however, as these two teams have been repeatedly linked as potential trade partners for quite some time now.

It's been no secret that Zach LaVine and the Lakers have continually registered interest in each other over the years, but nothing has come of it thus far. If the Lakers wanted a chance to showcase just what their players are worth, what better way to do so than in a head-to-head matchup?

In the past, the Lakers never had enough assets to get a fair deal done; now, it seems the tide might be finally shifting in the other direction. That's because D'Angelo Russell was the star of the show last night, making a strong case to get Chicago excited over the thought of landing him, while also making Los Angeles second guess trading him away in the first place.

Russell led all Lakers players with 29 points while also chipping in 4 assists. No matter what the Bulls through at him, Russell seemed to always have an answer offensively. His sweet shooting helped propel the Lakers to a 141-132 victory that wasn't anywhere near as close as the final score would suggest.

D'Angelo Russell's trade value is increasing as the Bulls continue the search for a team willing to take Zach LaVine.

DLo drilled 8-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc as Chicago's defense repeatedly failed to defend the perimeter in last night's game. Russell was the hot hand of the night, but the Lakers as team shot 20-for-31 on three-pointers, an astonishing 64.5% completion rate.

Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura have also had their names floated as potential Bulls trade targets, and each stepped up to deliver a solid performance. The duo combined for 30 points and 10 assists, shooting 10-for-12 from the field and nailing all six of their free throw attempts.

The Bulls by contrast struggled significantly. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic gave it everything they had by combining for 52 points — including 10 assists from DeRozan — but it ultimately wasn't anywhere close to enough. This was particularly disappointing, as the pair did it all on a hyper-efficient 19-for-26 shooting from the field. As good as the Bulls' offense was, their porous defense simply gave up far too much on the other end for it to matter.

If Russell could continue consistently playing at this level, I wouldn't hate the thought of having him around in Chicago. That being said, I'm not sure that's a gamble the front office will be willing to take, especially when it comes at the cost of trading away LaVine. At the same time, I doubt the Lakers feel in a rush to trade DLo away, not after he's averaged an incredible 27.4 points and 6.6 assists over his last seven games.

Ultimately, that might be for the best, as the Bulls don't need to hinder Coby White's development any further by adding another ball-dominant shot-chucking guard to the backcourt. If Chicago does indeed decide to deal LaVine away ahead of the deadline, the players currently on this team must be kept in mind, not just those who would be sent back to the Bulls in return.

Next. Grade the Trade: Bulls ship Zach LaVine to Detroit. Grade the Trade: Bulls ship Zach LaVine to Detroit. dark