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Jovan Buha on Zach LaVine-to-Lakers rumors

Many people have agreed for a while that the Los Angeles Lakers need an additional star or near-star player if they are to become championship contenders again.

In recent months, a number of trade targets have been mentioned, starting with Kyrie Irving in 2022 and early 2023, to Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young more recently.

Early this season, there was plenty of noise that Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls was someone the Lakers would go after. But that didn’t happen, partly because they didn’t want to take on his hefty contract.

LaVine, who is a client of Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis, was reportedly at Klutch’s pro day recently. Naturally, some Lakers fans may be wondering if LaVine, who played his college ball at the University of California, Los Angeles, wants to come to the Lakers or if the team may be planning to go after him.

Beat writer Jovan Buha of The Athletic shot down those rumors in the latest edition of “Buha’s Block” (at 39:10).

“I was hearing that he had interest in potentially being in LA (and) being a Laker,” Buha said. “Of course, it didn’t play out that way he ended up getting injured again and having foot surgery and the Lakers shifted more toward Dejounte Murray and trying to acquire him.”

“Now could those talks be revisited this summer? I don’t know. I would guess not. I think if you look at what the Lakers need, Zach LaVine checks some of the boxes, but he is a step down from the Donovan Mitchell-Trae Young tier. … There’s also now a mounting history of injuries with him, particularly lower extremity injuries with his knees and now his feet.”

“So I think the injury history mixed with him not being at the level of third star that the Lakers are looking for. That combination to me makes it unlikely he ends up being a Laker.”

LaVine is a capable scorer who can be exciting to watch, but he isn’t a facilitator, which is something L.A. needs if it gives up D’Angelo Russell or Austin Reaves to get a third star.

As Buha noted, he is also injury prone. He played in just 25 games this season due to foot and ankle problems, and he has appeared in more than 67 games just once in the last eight seasons. At the age of 29, it is a huge red flag that LaVine continues to sustain lower body injuries on a regular basis.

On top of that, he has been in the NBA for 10 years now, but he has made it to the playoffs just once and lost in the first round. While he has a career average of 20.5 points a game on a decent 46.4% from the field and 38.2% from 3-point range, there is a perception his production is nothing more than empty calories.

When it comes to what the Lakers need to get to the next level, they need to steer clear of doughnuts and go for either a steak dinner or a healthy vegan meal with plenty of protein.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire