Despite a strong NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had a great start to the 2023–24 season. Thus far, they are 5-5 and are fortunate to be .500 after they managed to pull out several close games.
That lackluster start has led to concerns that the Lakers aren’t built for another deep playoff run. Moreover, with rumors that teams are watching and waiting to see if the Chicago Bulls will begin a teardown, the Lakers names have unsurprisingly come up as possible trade partners.
NBA Rumors: The Lakers are linked to Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine.
The Lakers have few remaining trade assets but have been speculated as a possible landing spot for Bulls star Zach LaVine. LaVine would definitely help the Lakers, though he has a massive contract that wouldn’t be easy to trade for. Fortunately for the Lakers, they wisely signed contracts this past summer that would make it easier to match salaries in a deal for a star.
The most likely option would be D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, and Taurean Prince, whose combined salaries would get them within $3 million of LaVine’s salary for this season. That would at least make a deal possible, with the Lakers also being able to offer a 2028 or 2029 first and one or two pick swaps in 2026 and 2028.
Would a Hachimura, Russell, Prince, a first-round pick (top-5 protected in 2028 and 2029) and a pick swap package be enough for them to acquire LaVine? Possibly. While LaVine is a desired player, he is owed $178 million over the next four seasons, making him a “great player-bad contract” type of star.
Superstar LeBron James continues to prove that he is one of the best ever, but early-season trends for the Lakers leave room for improvement.
If the Bulls decide to make their best players available and rebuild, then offloading LaVine’s contract and receiving several decent players and good picks may be an appealing option. Meanwhile, the Lakers would boost their chances of making it back to the Western Conference Finals and possibly even the NBA Finals.