Ever since the news surfaced that the Bulls were open to engaging in trade talks to move Zach LaVine, the Kings have been mentioned as a possible destination.
There are several reasons for that: the Kings gave him an offer sheet before, he could boost their already tough offense, and the Kings seem to be one player away from true contention.
That player is not Zach LaVine, however. He is a good offensive player and a two-time All-Star. No one is denying that, but he just wouldn’t be a good fit.
Any trade to get LaVine would most certainly have to include Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter, two of the Kings’ starters. A lot of mock trades mention Davion Mitchell as the third player in the deal. If the Bulls wanted to rebuild, he would be an interesting asset, but his value is diminishing with every DNP.
On the latest episode of The Lowe Post, Zach Lowe mentioned that Malik Monk or Trey Lyles as the third player would be sure to get the deal done. Either way, the Kings would have to give up two starters and one of their most important players off the bench.
Zach LaVine is not the missing piece
That is simply too much. The Kings have some interesting young players, but they don’t have the depth to make up for losing that much production. Even if Murray takes another step forward offensively and LaVine averages around 20 points a game, something would still be missing.
Most importantly, they wouldn’t be able to be able to guard anyone. Right now, De’Aaron Fox and Keegan Murray are the only truly effective defenders in the starting lineup, and LaVine is not the player to change that.
That Kings are already a well-functioning scoring machine. They don’t need to give up all their assets for another defensive-minded player, coming off a disappointing big three era in Chicago.
Rather, they need a shot-blocking big who can stretch the floor to pair with Sabonis, moving Murray to the three, or a two-way guy on the perimeter to replace Harrison Barnes.
Fox, Sabonis, and Murray currently combine for an average of over 60 points a game, and that is with Murray struggling to shoot the ball to start the season. In addition to that, Monk and Huerter both average double-digits as well. That is a lot of scoring already.
LaVine averages a little over 17 field goal attempts per game with the Bulls. On the Kings’, that would be the second-most behind only Fox. Even if he takes a step back and is willing to be a third or fourth option offensively, you can’t give up all your assets and pay him $40 million a year to not have him do what he’s best at.
You would have to involve him offensively, and then every touch he gets takes away from Murray’s developments or slows down Fox. That is just not what they need. They need someone who can play a role—preferably a 3-and-D role—while letting others do their thing.
The Kings still have some work to do but this just isn’t the right move and there is no reason to make a rash, ill-advised win-now trade that probably wouldn’t even work.
Until someone of a similar archetype of player as OG Anunoby or Myles Turner, for example, becomes available, it is not worth giving up all their assets.