As the trade deadline nears, the Chicago Bulls are going to be the talk of the town. They’ve improved since their rough start to the season, but they’re still in prime position to shake things up at the deadline. And in turn, a lot of teams will be looking to strip them of valuable assets.
Unfortunately, while the Bulls’ top priority may be to ditch Zach LaVine and his massive contract, other teams around the league don’t seem to be too interested. That said, he’ll still undoubtedly be one of the biggest names floated around in rumors at the deadline.
Mock Zach LaVine-Lakers-Thunder trade
Here’s the full outline of the trade Bailey proposed:
Bulls receive: D’Angelo Russell, Davis Bertans, Jalen Hood-Schifino, 2024 first-round pick from OKC (via LAC), 2026 second-round pick from OKC (via GSW), 2029 first-round pick from LAL
Lakers receive: Zach LaVine, Aaron Wiggins
Thunder receive: Rui Hachimura, Andre Drummond
Why Bailey thinks Bulls would make trade
Bailey sees Russell and Bertans as salary filler for the Bulls, while Hood-Schifino is an okay young player. However, the main reason he believes the Bulls would be interested would be the draft capital.
“Obviously, this deal is mostly about the draft compensation for Chicago,” Bailey wrote. “While the Bulls might want a little more for LaVine after seeing the Toronto Raptors get three firsts for Pascal Siakam, this is a pretty decent haul for a 2 with a significant injury history and little to no impact on winning for the past couple years.”
Why Bailey thinks Lakers would make trade
For the Lakers, Bailey sees LaVine as an immediate offensive upgrade.
“For the Lakers, LaVine would undoubtedly be the third guy,” Bailey wrote. “With opposing teams having to focus the bulk of their defensive attention on LeBron James and Anthony Davis, LaVine would likely see an efficiency boost as someone attacking the closeouts of lesser defenders and getting more catch-and-shoot opportunities.
“Even with all the nitpicking this article has done on him to this point, it’s easy to see how he’d push the Lakers closer to title contention than Russell, Hachimura and Hood-Schifino are.”
Why Bailey thinks Thunder would make trade
Lastly, Bailey thinks this deal would be a good way for the Thunder to start spending their picks on rotation pieces.
“On a team with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams, Hachimura could pretty easily slot into a role similar to the one he’s played throughout his time with the Lakers,” Bailey wrote.
“The bigger get here might be Drummond, though.
“The 30-year-old former All-Star wouldn’t make a ton of sense for a rebuilding Bulls squad, but he could be a game-changer off the bench for OKC. Chet Holmgren’s shot-blocking and rim-protection addressed one Thunder weakness, but he’s slight and far from a great rebounder right now.”
Should the Bulls make this trade?
If a deal like this one came aceross the table for the Bulls, they should at least consider it. LaVine’s contract is huge, and if they could get off of it while also getting picks, that’s a win.
That said, the Lakers’ interest has reportedly subsided, so this deal, or any that would send LaVine to LA, seems very unlikely at this point.