In a newly published list of suggestions for teams that might be active ahead of the NBA's March 25 trade deadline, Bleacher Report wrote that the New Orleans Pelicans might target Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine as they hope to improve their chances of making the postseason this year.
As explained by the outlet, the Pelicans (5-8) are currently ranked 24th in the league in winning percentage and 21st in net efficiency despite the presence of forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. While both young stars have a solid supporting cast on paper, the likes of Lonzo Ball and recent veteran acquisitions Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams haven't been "doing their job," with the publication pointing out that the club has "disastrous spacing issues," subpar playmaking, and a weak defense that ranks 25th in points allowed per game.
"There's hope for some of the defensive issues to be ironed out internally, but this offense needs a big lift from the outside. Given New Orleans' wealth of draft capital (largely collected in the Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday trades) and not insignificant collection of prospects, the Pels have the resources to go big-game hunting, and the expectation around the league is that will happen sooner than later."
Although Bleacher Report acknowledged that Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards could be the "ideal target," the publication hinted that the Pelicans might not be able to come up with an attractive enough offer to land the NBA's erstwhile scoring leader. With that in mind, the site suggested LaVine, who is playing for a Bulls team that is trying its best to fight for a playoff spot but could likely end up in the play-in tournament for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference as a best-case scenario.
As of this writing, LaVine is averaging 27.4 points and 5.3 assists for Chicago and is shooting well from all over the court, sinking 49.8 percent of his field goals and 38.7 percent from beyond the arc. As such, the outlet stressed that the 25-year-old's stock is "rising," thus making him a good pickup for New Orleans and a player who could improve their scoring, shooting, and playmaking if he ends up with the Pelicans.
Due to his status as a top-tier backcourt star whose team has not been in the postseason in quite some time, LaVine has frequently been mentioned in trade ideas involving other teams. Aside from the Pelicans, the Golden State Warriors could, in theory, also make a move for the former UCLA star, with one recent scenario suggesting that the Warriors could get him for a package headlined by forward Kelly Oubre Jr. and multiple future first-round picks.