Before the Los Angeles Lakers (4-5) took the court in their eventual 122-119 win over the Phoenix Suns, their roster construction was up for debate. It seemed they might need to make another trade to improve the roster and one analyst had a suggestion.
“Is there a bad team you want to go and say, ‘Okay, they’re not in contention, they’ve got a potential third guy for the Lakers who will work in that complementary role, who’s not going to challenge LeBron, who’s going to be thrilled to be there with LeBron,” asked ESPN’s Michael Wilbon on “NBA Today” on November 10. “Because I got a guy. … Zach LaVine.”
LaVine, 28, is averaging 25.4 points per game and shooting 40% from beyond the arc over his last seven games.
He is also a two-time former All-Star.
“I’m not mad at this,” host Chiney Ogwumikey said. “He can knock down a three, he can push the rock, he’s complementary, he’s enough of a star to really play along[side LeBron]. … That is a championship team.”
“You’re not doing any good on the Bulls,” Wilbon asserted. “What are they doing?”
“He’s … got a contract that is a little bit prohibitive,” Windhorst said about LaVine, who is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract. “The Bulls wouldn’t say this. The Bulls right now would say, ‘No, we’re going to keep Zach.’ But the cost for him on the market might not be outrageous because you’d have to take on that contract too.”
LaVine has repeatedly stated his commitment to the organization and his love for the city. But the persistent trade rumors have not gone unnoticed by LaVine, a West Coast native who lives and trains in Los Angeles during the offseason.
“It’s always rumors. But I always heard where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” LaVine said via NBC Sports Bay Area on August 5. “And, every once in a while, you see a little too much smoke.”
Rival Teams Scouting Bulls Heavily, Analyst Says
“In talking to some people around the league, the scouts are jamming themselves into Bulls games because they realize that, at some point, the Bulls may break this team up,” ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst said in response to Wilbon’s idea. “And they’re all gathering intelligence.”
Indeed, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported on November 11 that the Bulls currently have no intentions of trading LaVine.
Still, the Bulls (3-6) gauged trade interest in LaVine this past offseason and ahead of the trade deadline last season. They have maintained a high asking price in previous discussions which has prevented a trade.
“I think the Bulls should have started a rebuild 20 minutes ago,” said Windhorst.
Lakers, Bulls Could Face Similar Timelines for a Trade
If the Bulls are still sorting their future out as Winhorst suggests, that could ultimately benefit the Lakers.
“They could reach a point where they evaluate their offseason and realize they made a mistake. That bringing the bulk of the team back was a mistake,” Windhorst said of the Lakers’ plans for the roster. “They could reach that … but I don’t think they’re there yet.”
After so many changes less than one year ago, more time to jell could also be beneficial.
The Lakers would need the Bulls to hold out until at least December 15 to decide to pull the plug on their current core of players. That core also includes Compton native DeMar DeRozan. That is when L.A. can move players who signed contracts this offseason like D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura.
Like Heavy.com’s content? Be sure to follow us.
This article was originally published on Heavy.com
The post Analyst: Trading for $215 Million Star Would Make Lakers a ‘Championship Team’ appeared first on Heavy.com.