If there’s one team that will always and forever be involved in trade rumors, it’s the Lakers.
We’re barely 10 or 11 games into the season and already, the Lakers are being linked to another team’s best players.
This year, it’s the Bulls and mostly, guard Zach LaVine, who is said to be open to a trade (and the Bulls are said to be just fine with trading him).
But it’s not just LaVine, who shares agent Rich Paul with Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Per Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers are also interested in Bulls guard/forward DeMar DeRozan and point guard Alex Caruso, a former Laker.
As for LaVine specifically, Buha wrote that the Lakers’ interest is “real.” But it has to be at the “right price,” he added.
It is not been determined if DeRozan and Caruso are available, but given the Bulls’ struggles, you’d have to think they’re not beyond trading anybody.
There are some drawbacks, of course. For one, LaVine has a massive contract and for another, the Lakers may not want to gut the roster to add a player who is really good, but may not fill a need.
“The Lakers’ biggest concern in a potential LaVine trade is his gigantic contract: In addition to his $40.1 million salary for 2023-24, he’s owed $138 million over the next three years (which includes a $49 million player option in 2026-27 he seems likely to exercise),” Buha wrote. “Moreover, LaVine has a 15 percent trade kicker that he’d almost certainly have to waive to make a trade to the Lakers feasible financially. Conversely, DeRozan is on an expiring $28.6 million contract, while Caruso is making just $9.6 million this season and $9.9 million in 2024-25 (only $3 million of which is guaranteed).”
Meanwhile, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura become trade-eligible a month after that. You would think the Bulls would want at least Reaves and Hachimura as part of a deal for LaVine, as well as several others and a few of the Lakers’ trade-eligible picks.
Chicago’s asking price for LaVine was incredibly high over the summer and it’s likely to remain that way. Would the Lakers really be willing to unload the necessary roster parts to make a trade happen? It seems unlikely, but this is the NBA, and these are the Lakers. You can be sure they will do some considering.