NBA Trades: This proposed Lakers-Bulls deal is too good for LA to ignore

NBA Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls are one of the most popular teams in the NBA at the moment, but not because they are lighting up the standings. Instead, it appears that they are headed for a rebuild and their best players could soon become available.

In fact, teams have gone as far as to send representatives to their games to scout their players, possibly in the lead up to a trade. The Los Angeles Lakers are believed to be one of those teams and they may have just enough assets needed to make a major deal with the Bulls happen. Let’s take a look at a possible Bulls-Lakers deal.

NBA Trades: The Lakers form a super team in this proposed deal with Bulls.

*Trade cannot be completed until January 15th.

The hypothetical trade would see the Lakers ship out Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, and D’Angelo Russell to the Bulls for Alex Caruso and Zach LaVine. With the title of second-best team in the Western Conference up for grabs, the Lakers could take advantage of a Bulls fire sale by adding a third star in LaVine and a good role player in Caruso, who began his career in LA. They would be giving up four rotation players in the deal, which is risky for any team.

But their goal is to build the best possible team around LeBron and LaVine is a terrific shooter and efficient scorer who can help carry the offense on nights that LeBron or Anthony Davis sits. In the playoffs, having a third player who can consistently create his own shot would also come in handy.

For the Bulls, while none of the players received in the deal would help with an impending rebuild, they could all be flipped for additional assets. The Portland Trail Blazers just did something similar when they traded Jrue Holiday to the Boston Celtics. They didn’t initially receive much in terms of picks when they traded Damian Lillard, but they were later able to flip Holiday for more assets, making it a better deal as a whole.

Hachimura, Russell, Vincent, and Prince all should have some trade value, and if some form of this deal happens, the Bulls could move them for more picks. That makes the possibility of a Bulls-Lakers deal more realistic, especially since only a handful of teams would be willing to take back LaVine’s $178 million in remaining salary and fewer would be willing to gut their roster or give up multiple firsts.

Overall, the Lakers would probably strongly consider adding LaVine and re-acquiring Caruso. Giving up Hachimura, Russell, Vincent, and Prince would hurt their depth, but players such as Hachimura and Russell were signed to their big contracts partly so they could be used to match salaries in a deal for a star if one became available. One has, and the Bulls seem willing to trade their best players to the highest bidder, but it remains to be seen if the Lakers will be able to outbid other teams.

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