The Chicago Bulls have been mediocre for several years now, which doesn’t seem likely to change until they blow it up and trade away some of their All-Stars. Since 2017-18, they only made the playoffs once in 2021-22. They lost in only five games.
Their big three of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic simply is not a good fit. Not totally unsurprising, the Bulls are now reportedly open to trading Zach LaVine.
Once the news broke, Twitter (or X) has been blowing up with proposed trades, and some of them send the two-time All-Star to the Kings. The reason for this is that the Kings gave LaVine a 4-year $80 million offer sheet in July 2018, which the Bulls matched.
The Kings wanted him once, so maybe they are still interested now.
Hypothetical trade sends LaVine to the Kings
In this proposed mock trade by the Bird Rights Podcast, the Kings would get Zach LaVine and Torrey Craig in exchange for Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, and draft compensation.
That way, the Bulls would get two young players and a veteran to help them rebuild or retool, depending on who else they are potentially willing to trade.
The Kings would get another offensive weapon to pair with De’Aaron Fox. Scoring-wise, the two in the same backcourt would sure be scary, and LaVine could carry the offense while Fox is sitting or missing games.
Why is this trade problematic for the Kings?
Sending out Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter would make this a win-now trade, but it might not even lead to much winning. Replacing two starters is not easy, especially considering how valuable Huerter’s floor spacing and shooting are to the Kings’ offensive system.
Barnes and Huerter combine for an average of around 23 points and 8 rebounds a game while both have been off to a slow start. LaVine currently averages 21.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3 assists, marking career-lows in points, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and assists since the 2017-18 season.
Even with Torrey Craig being included in the deal, the Kings might not have enough wing depth and shooting to make up for losing both Huerter and Barnes.
LaVine is certainly capable of being a 25-point-a-game scorer, but he definitely would not solve the Kings’ defensive struggles. Besides, how do you share one ball between De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Zach LaVine, and Keegan Murray?
The Kings have voiced their desire to win a title in the near future, but it doesn’t seem like LaVine is the player to go all in for. With Fox’s ascension to All-Star status and Murray’s breakout campaign forming, the Kings don’t necessarily need another star.
Rather, they need a role player, like a wing stopper or a stretch four, who can protect the rim to pair with Sabonis.