The Los Angeles Lakers are always in the mix when a big name hits the trade market. After all, the list of superstars who have played for the franchise is as long as it is impressive, so it makes sense why a marquee destination is always in the mix.
Sometimes, though, this can run the Lakers into some trouble. That is exactly what happened in 2021 when the team traded its best depth pieces for former MVP Russell Westbrook. We all know how that went as the Lakers had to trade their own first-round pick in 2027 to get rid of him at the 2022 deadline.
Fans should hope that the Lake Show learned from that experience as the team might be tested with a similar potential trade target this year at the deadline. The odds of the Chicago Bulls trading Zach LaVine this season are growing, with NBA insider Shams Charania reporting that there is increased openness from both sides about a potential trade.
The Lakers have to be considered one of the favorites to trade for LaVine if he is indeed moved this season. While he is a big name and that may naturally excite some fans, it is not something that fans should be rooting for.
NBA Rumors: Why Zach LaVine to the Lakers is likely (and why it is a bad move)
LaVine is a Klutch Sports client and that alone increases his chances of becoming a Laker in the future. Los Angeles has unintentionally made it clear in recent years that Klutch and LeBron James have a say on the team’s roster construction.
Plus, it was reported after the Westbrook trade that both LeBron and Anthony Davis pushed Rob Pelinka to trade for the former MVP in the first place. If the Lakers are not meeting expectations by the turn of the calendar year, Pelinka and the front office may get the same internal pressure from the two top stars to make something happen. And that something would likely be LaVine.
Not to mention that LaVine himself has not been so shy in sharing his desire to play with LeBron and a dominant big man in the past. At least make it a little less obvious, Zach!
All this sounds great if you are a LaVine supporter but in reality, trading for the two-time all-star would be a bad move for the purple and gold. While the two players are much different in who they are and how they play, trading for LaVine would be like trading for Westbrook all over again.
LaVine is a big name that can hit shots from beyond the arc but he is not a winning basketball player. He is a classic example of a guy who puts up good stats on bad teams where he can have a high usage rate. This style never translates to winning basketball and these players never seem to fit in well in a winning system. LaVine was Jordan Poole before Poole became a household name.
The truth is in the numbers. Despite having plenty of talented teammates, LaVine has only made the playoffs once in his career and he was swept. Team success isn’t a completely fair measure of an individual player, but it is never a good sign when someone who is meant to be a star cannot even make the playoffs.
LaVine’s teams have a worse net rating when he is on the court in seven of his nine full seasons. This season the Bulls’ net rating is 11.6 points worse when LaVine is on the floor. Albeit it is a small sample size, but LaVine’s entire career has proven that this is usually the case.
LaVine is making over $40 million this season and the Lakers would have to commit to another three seasons of his services for increasing price points. Los Angeles would have to trade several of its important depth pieces (as well as draft capital) and would be committing long-term to a guy who should be making half of what he is making in the NBA.
This probably makes the team worse this season and removes and future flexibility. It would be outright destructive, perhaps more so than the Westbrook trade even was.