Los Angeles Lakers: 3 Trades to help them beat the Clippers and Bucks

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Trade Scenario Number One

When most NBA fans here the name Zach LaVine the first words that come to mind are “inefficient chucker.” Over the past couple of years, LaVine was an offensive black hole. He was a player who never saw a shot he didn’t want to take. But that’s what happens when a poorly run organization like the Chicago Bulls signs a combo guard like LaVine, who should be the third option on a playoff team, and instead, they ask him to be their number one scoring option.

Zach LaVine has been in the NBA for six seasons now, and he’s never come close to sniffing the playoffs. Also, a few years back, he suffered a season-ending knee injury, which is often problematic for a young player who depends on his incredible athleticism to score.

So, when you add up all of Zach’s losing and his sketchy injury history, what you get is a 24-year-old scoring machine, who is an incredibly undervalued NBA player.

Great NBA organizations spot underrated athletes, and they find a way to acquire that player for much less than they are worth.

Several years ago, the Rockets saw that James Harden was an undervalued MVP-type guard cast as the sixth man behind Russell Westbrook while he played for the Thunder. So, they found a way to get “The Beard,” and they’ve been a contender ever since.

Over a decade ago, the Lakers understood that Pau Gasol’s worth was down and that he had the reputation of a soft European center who couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. The Purple and Gold jumped on the opportunity and traded next to nothing for Pau, immediately transforming into the best squad in the Western Conference.

The Lakers need a dynamic playmaker, a guy who can run the offense when LeBron rests and who can also create by himself when squads like the Bucks or Clippers load up on James.

The Lakers need a guy like the Clippers, Lou Williams. The crazy thing is; Zach Lavine is better than “Sweet Lou.”

Compare both players numbers this season:

  • Zach LaVine: 25 PPG, 4 APG, 40% 3P%, 52 eFG%, 108 DEFRTG, 1.9 BPM
  • Lou Williams: 20 PPG, 6 APG, 38 3P%, 49 eFG%, 111 DEFRTG, -0.2 BPM

The Lakers would hate to give up Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma, but Alex Caruso could easily slide into the starting lineup for Green, and Zach LaVine would give the Lakers the sixth man they thought they had in Kyle Kuzma.

Some Lakers fans might complain about Zach LaVine’s defense, but he’s 6’6″ and incredibly fast. If you put him on the Purple and Gold with Frank Vogel teaching him how to defend and LeBron James and Anthony Davis staring him down when he misses an assignment, he’d quickly morph into a decent defensive wing.

Other folks might point out that Zach LaVine has three years and $60 million left on his contract, which would take the Lakers out of the upcoming Giannis free agency sweepstakes. However, there’s been no indication that “The Greek Freak” has any desire to go to Hollywood, so it would be insane to pass up on a chance to get LaVine, a dynamic scorer, and passer, in the small hope that he joins the Purple and Gold.

If Rob Pelinka were to pull off this Zach LaVine trade, the Lakers would then start Avery Bradley, Alex Caruso, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee. Later, Zach LaVine would come off the bench along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jared Dudley, and Dwight Howard, while Rajon Rondo and Troy Daniels get spot minutes. That’s a championship squad, with defense down the middle, 3-point shooting, two superstars, and offensive punch off the bench.

Would the Chicago Bulls make this trade?

The Bulls are 15-27. They have some intriguing pieces, but things are off in Chicago. This deal would allow the Bulls to reset, while also giving them a young player in Kyle Kuzma with All-Star potential on an incredibly cheap contract.

Kyle Kuzma could end up exploding for the Bulls, just like Brandon Ingram has this season on the Pelicans. The Bulls could benefit from this deal, so they’d have to consider trading Zach LaVine to the Lakers.