After an absolutely embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, many are wondering whether it is only a matter of time before the Los Angeles Lakers look to make a move. The team has been linked to Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine, but it is reported that the Lakers would not make guard Austin Reaves available in such a deal.
The front office would reportedly prefer a package centered around D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura, but whether or not that would be enough to get a deal done is unclear. And the Bulls could insist on Reaves being part of a trade.
According to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic in a recent appearance on FanDuel TV’s ‘Run It Back,’ he expects the Lakers to be patient for the time being but believes the Bulls would covet Reaves in any potential trade for LaVine:
“I think the Lakers will be patient. We saw what happened last year during the season. There was call for changes, Rob Pelinka and that front office they took a more diligent approach. They pursued Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline, but then they went the other route, got a bunch of good role players, assembled a team that was kinda similar to that 2020 championship team, with high level rotation players and they go to the Western Conference Finals.
“I expect them to express interest in Zach LaVine, but he’s making almost $40 million. So to total the salaries to reach that amount in a trade, guys like D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, they are not both trade eligible until mid-January. The Bulls, I’m sure, would covet Austin Reaves in any potential Zach LaVine trade, as any team would. If you’re the Lakers and you’re out there trying to pursue a third star, whether that’s Zach LaVine, anyone else that becomes available, the player that teams will ask about is Austin Reaves 100%. To this point the Lakers have not been inclined to move Austin Reaves, they didn’t put him in a deal for Kyrie Irving.”
That being said, Charania noted that the absence of Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent has hurt the Lakers, but thinks the Lakers have to take advantage of how great LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been:
“So I think now if you’re the Lakers you’re gonna take a prudent approach. Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent, two guys that are supposed to be massive for them in their rotation, they haven’t played much at all this year. So I think overall you have to take advantage. LeBron James, Anthony Davis they’re playing at such a high level, you have to take advantage of how they’re playing and that includes being proactive in the trade market.”
It seems pretty clear that the Lakers, as currently constructed, are not a championship team and the returns of Vanderbilt and Vincent will surely improve them, but likely not to that level. Needless to say, the Lakers will be one of the most watched teams on the trade market in the coming weeks.
Austin Reaves focused on making ‘winning plays’ for Lakers
One of the reasons Reaves would be so coveted by the Bulls is his ability to fit anywhere due to his all-around game. Whether he is starting or coming off the bench, Reaves simply wants to make ‘winning plays’ for the Lakers.
Reaves noted that whether it is taking charges, grabbing rebounds, creating extra possessions or any number of things, he is focused on doing those things to help the Lakers come out victorious on any given night.
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