Grade the trade: Lakers land lackluster third star from lottery team in proposal

One proposed trade would see the Lakers bring in a third star that may not be the best fit.
Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers
Rob Pelinka, Los Angeles Lakers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

We are just a few short days away from the 2024 NBA Lottery taking place. Of course, this does not mean much to the Los Angeles Lakers, who went to the playoffs and thus will not have a spot in the lottery this season. But for the teams that missed out on the postseason, it will be their time to find out exactly what resources will become available to them on draft night.

As Lakers' President and General Manager Rob Pelinka strategizes how to improve the team this offseason, he will of course be keeping up with executives around the league and monitoring which players and other assets might become available. One team LA has been linked with in trade rumors numerous times over the last several years is the Chicago Bulls.

So that makes it no surprise that the latest proposed trade for the Lakers involves the Bulls. Bleacher Report recently devised a trade for each team in the NBA Lottery, and their imagined deal for Chicago involves them sending Zach LaVine to Los Angeles in exchange for D'Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt.

The connection here is relatively obvious. LaVine's agent is Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who of course is LeBron's agent as well as close friend. It would make sense that LeBron would want to try to get one of his fellow Klutch clients on board the Lakers with him. However, the practicality of this trade is questionable at best.

B/R Lakers LaVine trade

This Lakers-Bulls trade is unlikely to help LA

What this trade would unquestionably do is land the Lakers their third star player alongside LeBron and Anthony Davis - that much can not be disputed. But is the "three-star" model really the approach the organization should be taking at this point? We have seen that tactic fall flat for other teams recently, and it clearly did not work out the last time the Lakers tried it either (with Russell Westbrook).

No picks are involved here, so it is all about how the traded players benefit or detract from their proposed new teams. LaVine is obviously a lethal scorer when he gets going, but his deficiencies on the defensive end are what should concern LA. The Lakers were already a middle of the road defensive team this past season, even with AD's DPOY-level campaign.

They would also be giving away too much versatility to Chicago to get back a somewhat one-dimensional player in return. D'Angelo Russell, through all his ups and downs, is a reliable scorer that can still produce at probably 70% of what LaVine can. We did not see much of Gabe Vincent this past season, but it is not hard to imagine him being a much more crucial piece as a backup ball handler given a fully healthy season.

And then lastly, Jarred Vanderbilt's defensive impact was sorely missed for much of last season. Shipping out these three players that collectively add so much to this group would frankly be a major mistake if the only thing the Lakers get back is Zach LaVine.

There should be little doubt Rob Pelinka can do better for LA than this proposed deal. If the Bulls were to call him up with this exact trade proposal, Lakers fans should hope with everything they have that he says no.

Grade: D