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Debate

Should the Lakers risk it all for Zach LaVine, or is he not worth the $5 million headache?

The past few days have seen the Los Angeles Lakers looking to add another star player to their roster. The initial efforts went by in an attempt to court Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, and Buddy Hield. Lead scorer LeBron James was even willing to take a pay cut so that the franchise could afford Thompson or any other “impact player.” Unfortunately, all three of them have committed themselves to different franchises. All hope, however, is not lost as one more player remains available to be swooped up: Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. However, a recent update has now revealed that general manager Rob Pelinka may have to abandon any attempt to bring the player in.

A few hours ago, Lakers Nation reporter Trevor Lane provided a recent update about the franchise. According to him, the Lakers are looking to bring in Toronto Raptors small forward Gary Trent Jr. However, even if he was to be brought in for a $5.2 million annual contract, doing so would cause the franchise to go beyond the ‘Second Apron’ limit. As of this moment, they are only $45,000 below the restriction. Therefore, not only would some cuts need to be made, but any future acquisition plans would also have to be kept on hold. This would involve Zach LaVine as well. “I like Zach LaVine just fine as a player. I just wish he was making like $30 million, because then it would make it so much easier to do a deal.”

Zach LaVine still has some remaining dues from the 5-year, $215 million contract that he signed back in 2022. As a result, whichever franchise takes him in will have to fork up $43.03 million for the 2024-25 season, $45.99 million for the next one, and $48.96 for the season after that.

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With LeBron James having taken a $3 million cut on his two-year extension, the Lakers have managed to get below, but just barely, the $188.9 million ‘Second Apron’ limit. According to the new CBA guidelines, franchises crossing the limit will not only face heavy fines, but also restrictions in regards to trades of first-round picks, salaries being paid during trades, and acquisitions. This is a risk that is just too big to be undertaken.

Poll of the day

Should the Lakers pursue Zach LaVine despite the $5 million dilemma?

Yes, he's worth it

No, too risky

Only if they can negotiate a better deal

Focus on other players

The franchise has now locked in 15 of its players by staying below the limit, including their newest rookie and LeBron James’s eldest son Bronny. If any further moves are to be made, the only way to go would be to clear a roster spot or look for viable trades. At his current pay, Zach LaVine would be too expensive for the Lakers to secure.

Will Rob Pelinka use Trade Picks to acquire Zach LaVine?

At the moment, there isn’t much interest in acquiring someone like Zach LaVine by any of the NBA franchises. Along with his high pay, the reason for the same can also be attributed to his poor performance last season and the foot surgery he had to undergo in light of an injury. Even though the Lakers might not have the financial backing to make this trade/acquisition, they have another tool in their arsenal: Trade Picks.

According to reports, Rob Pelinka currently possesses over 6 future second-round draft picks and 5 future first-round draft picks. Media personality Nick Wright, how they will be used is being put on a priority basis by Pelinka. The general manager himself confirmed the same during a presser in which he was introducing Bronny James and Dalton Knecht.

“If the right deal comes and we have to put in draft picks, we will” said Pelinka. “We are now in the apron world.”

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USA Today via Reuters

With no franchise coming in to acquire LaVine, the Bulls are making use of their bargaining chips as well. According to a recent report by NBC Sports Chicago journalist K.C. Johnson, the franchise “will continue their efforts to trade Zach LaVine—and now have two second-round picks to possibly attach as assets in that quest.” Furthermore, it was also revealed that the Bulls and the Sacramento Kings had held trade talks in regards to the player the latter franchise acquired DeMar DeRozan. Therefore, if the general manager finds it worthwhile, then a possible trade via draft picks could easily bring in LaVine without any additional financial stress.

Do you think that Zach LaVine would be a good pick for the Lakers? Let us know in the comments down below.

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Before you go, though, be sure to check this video of Leonardo Armato’s take on the deadly duo, Shaq and Kobe. Don’t forget to check back in for more such updates from our ES Fancast!