With the NBA lifting its trade moratorium on Monday, a number of teams have pulled off blockbuster deals ahead of this week’s draft. Although the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly set to acquire point guard Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder, a recent list of suggested trades noted that the team could theoretically make a bigger move by swinging a deal for Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.
Although LaVine has yet to play in an All-Star game as he prepares for the seventh season of his NBA career, Fadeaway World pointed out that the 25-year-old is “developing into a big-time player” due to his athleticism, ability to score from anywhere on the floor, and explosive dunks. The outlet suggested that LaVine could be a good fit with the Lakers’ style of play as someone who could become the team’s third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Given that Kuzma hasn’t produced as expected as the third offensive option in Los Angeles, the publication recommended a trade that would send him and backup guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Quinn Cook to the Bulls in exchange for LaVine. In order for this deal to go through, Caldwell-Pope would need to sign a new contract with the Lakers due to his status as a free agent.
According to his Basketball-Reference player page, LaVine averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists for the Bulls in 2019-20 and also made 45 percent of his field goals and 38 percent of his attempts from three-point range. If the proposed transaction pushes forward, the former first-round draft pick could address the Lakers’ outside shooting, which was widely seen as one of the club’s most glaring weaknesses even as it won a championship earlier this year by defeating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Talking about Kuzma’s possible impact if he gets moved to Chicago, Fadeaway World wrote that he could be a “good piece” for the team as it continues to rebuild, given how he didn’t seem to fit in with the Lakers as they transitioned to a more veteran-oriented lineup. If the deal pushes forward, he will join a mostly young core that also includes big men Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. alongside guard Coby White.
If the Lakers make a move for LaVine, he could be the second starting-caliber player to join the Lakers as they hope for a second straight championship run in 2020-21. As reported by CBS Sports, the club was, as of Monday, in “advanced talks” with the Thunder to acquire the 27-year-old Schroder for veteran wingman Danny Green and the No. 28 selection in this year’s draft.