It’s time – Zach Lavine is on the market

In the same way that “Remember when…” is the lowest form of conversation, coming up with trade proposals is the lowest form of basketball fandom.

First off, whatever idea you’ve thought up while on your lunch break or chatting with your friends, pro-sports organizations have entire departments consisting of really smart people whose job is literally to study the team, league, numbers, trends, analytics, contracts, and salary cap to come up with ways to improve the squad, often via trade. And they’ve surely discussed your idea months ago and likely poo-poo’d it. So, believe me when I tell you, I’m nowhere near my high-horse. I don’t own a horse, never wanted a horse, barely know how to ride a horse. I’m not discovering anything new.. 

Secondly, when a player gets traded, his wife gets traded, his kids get traded, their schools get traded, their friends and families get traded, etc. A trade completely upends a player’s life. Anyone can live in a fantasy world above the clouds and throw around ideas, but the reality is pretty sobering. Most people don’t want to get traded (unless their name is James Harden). So it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

That aside, here are some Zach Lavine trade ideas!

  1. Timberwolves
    • Wolves receive Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive KAT Towns
    • Why it works:
      • Minnesota needs shooting and halfcourt scoring. Zach provides both. Plus, they’d immediately have the 2 most athletic wings in the league with Zach and Ant-man. They won’t have to worry about any Towns vs Edwards battle over whose team it is anymore. And Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid can easily fill those KAT minutes and provide 75%+ of his production.
      • For Chicago, KAT would slide in at the 4-spot, immediately providing some much needed size and shooting. And if Billy can get a team with Demar, Zach, and Vuc to play top 5 caliber defense, then he can get KAT to be consistent at that end too.
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • ‘Sota probably wants to see where this season is going. They’re the 2nd best team in the West right now, and they’re a real threat. They have size, defense, veteran leadership, shooting, coaching, and one of the most exciting players in the league in Edwards. They probably don’t want to make any crazy midseason trades and risk messing it up.
  2. Knicks
    • Knicks receive: Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive: RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier, 2025 Bucks 1st rounder, unprotected Pistons 2024 2nd rounder
    • Why it works: 
      • The rumors have swirled for about a year now that the Knicks made calls about the price of Lavine. For NY, Zach immediately becomes their 2nd best player and best scorer. Their halfcourt offense routinely stalls out and Zach would pump some life into it. Thibs tends to play a very basic, ISO-heavy offense, which Lavine would thrive in. 
      • The Bulls would be overjoyed with this haul. Fournier still has some life left. the 2nd round Pistons pick will certainly have value, though the Bucks pick likely will be in the 20s. But the key here is Barrett. He’s a real hooper, a reliable 20-5-5 guy who gets to the rim and plays defense. He’ll never be a superstar, but you could do worse as a 3rd or 4th option on a contending team.
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • Word around the campfire is that the Knicks have soured on Zach since the summer, likely due to the fact that Barrett (and Quickely, DiVincenzo, & Hart) has looked so good. Zach’s a better player, but they can get 75% of the production for half the cost. Furthermore, it sounds like Zach’s Klutch representation doesn’t want to do business with the Knicks CAA connections, a’la Leon Rose.
  3. Lakers
    • Lakers receive: Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive: D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Gabe Vincent, 2029 unprotected Lakers 1st round pick, 2025 Clippers 2nd rounder
    • Why it works:
      • The expected rise of Austin Reaves has stalled slightly. The Lakers were relying on him to be the lead creator for 20 minutes a night while LeBron rests. That may be too much, too soon for Reaves. Enter Lavine, who would immediately become the 3rd best player on the team and potentially its leading scorer. LeBron would get the most out of him certainly. Plus the Klutch connections are undeniable. And besides, the Russell and Rui contracts were essentially written with a clause saying “We’re paying you this much because we’re probably going to trade you.” The longer the Mavs and Kyrie play well, the less likely he’s coming to LA. And Zach is a pretty good consolation prize.
      • For the Bulls, the draft pick is the main thing. That’s the prize here, as they’d be looking to replenish their draft stock. Gabe Vincent and Rui Hachimura just proved that they can play crunch-time minutes for a championship contending team. This deal would give the Bulls flexibility as well, in case they would want to continue making moves this offseason.
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • It’s probably a useless exercise, honestly. All three Lakers players can’t be traded until December 15th at the earliest. And I predict AKME doesn’t want to wait that long, losing games while this cloud hangs over the team. Plus, 2 of them are guards, and the Bulls already have a crowded backcourt rotation. I like Rui and that 2029 pick could be gold, but I think the Bulls could do better.
  4. 76ers
    • 76ers receive: Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive: Tobias Harris, 76ers 2026 1st rounder, 2029 Clippers 1st Round Pick Swap, Knicks 2024 2nd rounder
    • Why it works:
      • Morey is on record saying he wants that 3rd star to make a real championship run. Zach would certainly suffice. They don’t want to waste anymore prime Embiid years, and this deal would immediately put them neck and neck with the Celtics. The draft picks are very valuable, but it’s a worthwhile cost for Lavine. Furthermore, though Tobias Harris has played well for them so far, getting Covington and Batum in the Harden deal should make Harris expendable.
      • For Chicago, the Harris’ contract expires at the end of the season, so no long term commitment. Meanwhile, this draft compensation is really enticing, particularly that 2029 Clippers 1st Round swap. The Clips core is getting older and is injury prone. By 2029, they’ll likely all be retired. And besides, and Clippers draft pick will almost always have value.
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • Two main reasons. First, though Morey wants a 3rd star, he has the draft assets to go after bigger fish than Lavine. Second, the Sixers are playing the best ball they’ve played in 4 years right now. And Tyrese Maxey is the engine. I don’t think they would want to upset the chemistry they’re playing with right now. The Maxey-Embiid pairing is quickly climbing the ranks of best duos in the league. And guys like Melton, Covington, Batum, and Harris are the ideal role players to surround them with.
  5. Raptors
    • Raps receive: Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive: Pascal Siakim & 2026 1st round pick
    • Why it works:
      • The Raps need shooting and halfcourt scoring. Zach provides both. Furthermore, if they know Pascal is walking after this season, they can’t go down the Fred VanVleet road again. They have to get SOMETHING in exchange for their best player since Kawhi. And Zach is more than something. Plus he’s under contract for 4 years. The Raps would have to throw in a future 1st round pick because the Bulls are risking Siakim leaving next summer. But this deal allows Barnes to play PF, and they can run out Schroeder, Lavine, OG, Barnes, and Poeltl. That’s a bonafide playoff team in the east.
      • The Bulls would do this deal because they know Pat Williams isn’t a PF by now. He’d be moved to his more natural SF spot, where he & Pascal can provide the front line defense that Vuc doesn’t offer.
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • The Bulls don’t want to trade one ballstopper for another. The criticism of Siakim has been, despite his obvious success, he often takes a lot of time to get into his shot, stalling an offensive flow. Though accurate in the past, Pascal has adapted his game and rarely pounds the air out of the ball anymore. But Chicago might not want to risk it anyway.
  6. Pelicans
    • Pels receive: Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive: Brandon Ingram and Kira Lewis
    • Why it works:
      • New Orleans is struggling right now, and besides health, the number 1 reason is lack of shooting. With Tre Murphy & CJ McCollum out, they’re actually relying on rookie Jordan Hawkins to spread the floor. Zach would immediately upgrade their offense via his shooting alone. Plus, with Zion, they have a bonafide Alpha that will allow Zach to play off the ball and be a secondary creator, which is a better fit for him. Furthermore, the Zion-Ingram tandem has always been a clunky fit because they both play best with the ball in their hands and they aren’t great C&S players. Additionally, with guys like Dyson Daniels, Tre Murphy, and Herb Jones waiting in the Wings, Ingram is somewhat expendable. Kira Lewis would be a throw-in for salary matching purposes.
      • Chicago could use the additional size Ingram will bring. Though not a great rebounder, he is better than Zach in that department. He’s young still and still has room for improvement. The Bulls need big wings.
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • The last thing AKME wants is another ballstopper who doesn’t know how to play off the ball & refuses to catch and shoot when given open Catch & Shoot opportunities. I love the idea of Ingram, seems like a good kid who works hard and can get you 20+ on any given night. But he might just be a Forward version of Zach
  7. Magic
    • Magic receives: Zach Lavine
    • Bulls receive: Jalen Suggs, Gary Harris, Jonathan Isaac, Magic 2025 1st rounder unprotected
    • Why it works:
      • For Orlando, they’re loaded with young talented players, especially in the backcourt. But it’s become a logjam because they essentially all offer the same exact skills – none of which is shooting. Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, and Anthony Black – all talented, but none are consistent shooters. Enter Lavine, who would immediately become their best player, while also won’t dominate the ball. He’ll allow Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero to continue to play their style and lead the team. Plus he’ll open up driving lanes for them. And he has that Seattle area connection to Paolo. Love this deal for the Magic.
      • This one is my favorite. To begin, I love Suggs. He’s not a shooter, but he’s a pitbull defensively and knows how to play. Plus he’s improving from beyond the arc. Isaac, as he showed against the Bulls already this week, still has some spring and plenty of defensive chops left, despite his poor injury history. He’d slide in at the 4 and immediately be our best rim protector. Harris would be needed for salary purposes. The 1st rounder would certainly be in the teens, as I don’t anticipate the Magic becoming a top flight team right away. But still valuable
    • Why it doesn’t work:
      • No reason, besides the Magic might just not be too into Zach Lavine. If Zach doesn’t show them something soon, this deal could be off the table entirely. He sucked in Game 1 this week. He has another opportunity tomorrow. 

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