Could Trading for Third Superstar Be Lakers’ Best LeBron James Transition?

Complain all you want about the poor execution and dysfunction of their ownership and front office, but there’s no NBA franchise more willing to gamble everything and shoot for the moon than the Los Angeles Lakers.

While the Lakers may ultimately give in to win-now pressure to trade their two available first round picks, could a Zach LaVine trade this summer be their best opportunity to setup a successful transition from LeBron James?
While most observers view a LaVine to the Lakers trade as a long shot, could Rob Pelinka and Rich Paul conspire and force Chicago to trade Zach to the Lakers like they forced New Orleans to trade them Anthony Davis?

The Lakers are reportedly leaning to not trading their two first round picks because they want to save and combine them with their 2023 first round pick on Draft Day in a blockbuster trade for a third superstar this summer.
The superstar the Lakers are targeting is Zach LaVine, who recently signed with Kutch Sports, the same agency as LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The game plan could be to force Chicago to trade LaVine to the Lakers.

Let’s look at the Lakers’ options at the trade deadline and assess the chances a blockbuster Zach LaVine trade with the Bulls this summer could be Los Angeles’ best chance to setup a replacement for LeBron James.

Why Bulls Need To Trade Zach LaVine and Rebuild

The Bulls invested three first round picks to assemble a team they thought could compete for a championship. Unfortunately, a major injury to Lonzo Ball and a losing season have them considering blowing everything up.

Right now, the Bulls are 20–24 and hanging onto their playoff hopes as the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. With no word when Ball will return, the Bulls’ prospects to compete for a championship this season are dead.
There are conflicts to resolve between LaVine and DeRozan, and Vucevic has already declined an extension and decided to leave as a free agent this summer, putting more pressure on Bulls to consider becoming sellers.

Complicating any decision to tank is the Bull’s traded their top-4 protected 2023 first round pick to the Orlando Magic in the Vucevic trade. The Bulls are afraid if they tank, they could end up losing the #5 pick in the draft.
Realistically, the Bulls are caught in between a rock and a hard place but the smart move is to rebuild because it’s obvious that roster they’ve built is not good enough to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

The problem with rebuilding is a young superstar like Zach LaVine is in the first year of a 5-year max deal and is unlikely to want to spend the prime of his career as part of a rebuilding team, which is why he should be traded.

How Lakers Can Force Bulls To Trade LaVine?

Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles Lakers have a unique opportunity to work with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Group to force the Chicago Bulls to trade superstar two guard Zach LaVine to them in a mega trade this summer.

Rich Paul has already set the ground work for Zach LaVine to demand a trade to the Lakers by raising the issue of the Bulls needing to rethink their long term strategy and probably blow everything up in a complete rebuild.
All that remains is for the Bulls to formally announce that they are willing to accept trade offers for LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic and for Zach to proclaim that the Lakers are the only team he’s willing to be traded to.

There would likely be immediate backlash throughout the league for Lakers trying to use the same tactics they deployed to force the Pelicans to trade Anthony Davis to motivate the Bulls to trade Zach LaVine to them.
LaVine demanding to be traded to the Lakers is the only way L.A. could beat out teams with better trading chips. No team is going to trade for Zach and the four max years left on his contract unless he wants to be there.

If Zach LaVine demands a trade to the Lakers and advises other teams they’re the only team he wants to be traded to and play for, then there’s a good chance we could see Zach LaVine in purple and gold next season.

What Would Lakers Have To Give Up For LaVine?

Even with Zach LaVine demanding a trade, the Lakers will need to offer everything in their trade portfolio, including their 2023 first round pick, their 2027 and 2029 unprotected picks, and a 2028 first round pick swap.

Other teams will likely be reluctant to make significant trade offers for a player in the first year of a 5-year max contract who says the Lakers are the only team to whom he wants to be traded to and for whom he wants to play.
While the Bulls may not want to give up on LaVine, it’s hard to see them having a viable alternative if Zach is intent on forcing a trade to the Lakers. They may fight it but in the end, the Bulls know they need to rebuild.

Once the Bulls and Lakers agree to trade Zach Lavine, it makes sense for the the two teams to consider an expanded version of the trade that could also include other Chicago players like Nikola Vucevic and Alex Caruso.
In the end, the Lakers would give up five players with combined salaries of $75.1 million, their 2023 first round pick, their unprotected 2027 and 2029 first round picks, and a 2028 first round pick swap for three players.

Adding Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, and Nikola Vucevic to LeBron James and Anthony Davis would immediately give the Lakers the best starting lineup in the league. That’s the type of home run the Lakers always look to hit.

How LaVine Trade Sets Up LeBron James Transition

The Los Angeles Lakers will soon be confronted with the major challenge teams face in building championship rosters, which is how to successfully make the transition from a transcendent superstar like LeBron James?

Waiting too long to replace an aging superstar can lead to a decade of losses as the Lakers found out in the years after Kobe retired. The Lakers need to figure out how to avoid the same outcome when LeBron retires.
There’s a strong argument to be made that the smart way for the Lakers to manage the transition from the LeBron James era would be bring in a young superstar guard like Zach LaVine before the King is ready to retire.

The Lakers need their two tradeable first round picks right now to get the size, shooting, and defense needed to be a competitor. But they also need those picks this summer to trade for a replacement for LeBron James.
While James is still playing at the level of a top-10 superstar at age 38, the injuries have become more frequent and common so it makes sense for the Lakers to start seriously looking for their next superstar to replace LeBron.

Being able to orchestrate a trade for superstar shooting guard Zach LaVine as LeBron James eventual replacement as Anthony Davis’ sidekick is the type of shoot for the moon style of move for which the Lakers are renown.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.