NBA Rumors: Lakers-Zach LaVine speculation grows with new, nightmarish wrinkle

Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Zach LaVine has become the most prominent player thrown around in NBA rumors as it seems like only a matter of time until he is traded. Because of his ties to Klutch Sports and LaVineoutright saying he wants to play with LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers have become the most talked-about destination.

While trading for LaVine would probably be a bad move in the long run, it certainly is feasible to see the Lakers taking this kind of swing. Los Angeles has the contracts to package together to make a deal happen and LaVine's connection to the team via Klutch cannot be understated.

This speculation as continued to grow with NBA insider Shams Charania adding more fuel to the fire on Tuesday. Not only did Shams say that he expects the Lakers to be interested in LaVine, but he also brought up a stark reality: the Bulls asking for Austin Reaves back in the trade.

Shams did say that the Lakers made it a point to not shop Reaves for Kyrie Irving last season but anything can change, especially if the front office is getting pressured by other Klutch clients. After all, Reaves did move to the bench already this season.

Lakers should kill any Zach LaVine trade talks that include Austin Reaves

It does not matter that LaVine is a Klutch guy or that Reaves is now on the bench. The Lakers would be absolutely silly to include Reaves in a trade for LaVine. This would be poor roster management by Rob Pelinka and Co. and would make the team worse, not better.

LaVine has had a negative net rating when he is on the court in seven of his nine full seasons (eight if you include this season). He puts up good stats on bad teams and does not contribute to winning. If Reaves got the same usage rate that LaVine got, he would probably put up similar numbers.

Trading for LaVine and his massive contract is already risky enough. Throwing in a young role player who has done everything the team has needed at every turn is malpractice. Of course, the Bulls should be interested in Reaves but the Lakers need to draw a firm line in the sand and not trade him.

As silly as it would be, fans still cannot write off the possibility. This Lakers front office has done crazier things. This would probably take the cake, though.