Report: Zach LaVine ‘would welcome’ trade to Kings
Nov 17, 2023, 3:11 PM | Updated: 3:15 pm
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
As the Chicago Bulls attempt to navigate a 4-8 start to the 2023-24 season, there are rumblings that some notable names could be on the move in the near future.
All-Star talents Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and DeMar DeRozan could be traded well before February 8th’s trade deadline as the Bulls move towards a rebuild, but one name could be moved sooner rather than later.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ senior NBA reporter Jake Fischer, Chicago and LaVine “share a mutual interest” in finding a trade for the two-time All-Star guard.
While teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers are near the top of LaVine’s preferred landing spots, the 28-year-old would welcome a trade to the up-and-coming Sacramento Kings.
There are several other contending situations LaVine would welcome joining, sources said, one being Sacramento.
The Kings signed LaVine to an offer sheet during his restricted free agency in 2018, albeit before this present front office regime took the reins in Northern California.
Latest notebook for @YahooSports: On Chicago’s crossroads with Zach LaVine, whether the Bulls actually go full rebuild, and perhaps the most prized veteran on their roster in terms of trade value — Alex Caruso.https://t.co/7AYlVgGXvl
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) November 17, 2023
Would Zach LaVine be a fit for the Kings?
This isn’t the first time LaVine and the Kings have been interested in one another.
While it’s important to note that Fischer’s piece doesn’t specify if Sacramento is interested in trading for the high-scoring guard, the fact that LaVine is interested in the Kings marks the second time the two parties have been linked to one another.
LaVine inked a four-year, $80 million offer sheet with Sacramento in the summer of 2018 as a restricted free agent before Chicago matched the deal within the 48-hour window.
A lot has changed since 2018, with LaVine becoming a two-time All-Star while evolving from an above-the-rim threat to an all-around scorer.
Over the past five-plus seasons, LaVine holds averages of 25.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 37 from downtown (337 games).
There’s little doubt that Sacramento is one notable piece away from becoming a legitimate contender in the Western Conference, but it remains to be seen if Kings general manager Monte McNair views LaVine, a high-scoring guard, as the missing piece.
Offense is Sacramento’s super power, with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis setting the table for sharpshooters Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray for an team that set an NBA record with 119.4 offensive rating en route to a playoff berth in 2022-23.
Defense remains an issue for the Kings, and adding another max contract to a roster that already includes Fox and Sabonis would be tricky for Sacramento.
LaVine is currently in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract, meaning that the guard is on the hook for an average of $44.4 million per season through 2026-27 (the final year is a player option).
To make a trade for LaVine work, the Kings would have to include larger contracts like Harrison Barnes (not eligible to be traded until December 29th), Kevin Huerter, and another player like Trey Lyles (cannot be traded until January 14).
In short, Sacramento would have to gut its depth in order to bring in the mammoth contract that LaVine possesses while having to fit a high-scoring guard into a lineup that is ran by Fox, who is currently averaging 30.0 points per game on a 32.6% usage rate. For comparison, LaVine’s 27.3% usage rate would be second on this Kings roster.
Sacramento lacks defensive stability, and it’s unlikely that McNair would leverage a chunk of this roster for a player like LaVine, whose primary skill is scoring the ball.
Never say never, but I’d expect the Kings to look at other options–both cheaper on the defensive side–that could become available as we get closer to February’s trade deadline.
As Sacramento continues to climb the ranks of NBA contenders, more disgruntled stars will list them as a potential destination. We saw it with Bradley Beal during the summer, now LaVine. More are sure to come if the Kings continue winning games.
- Friday, November 17th – Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs** – 4:30 PM PST
- Sunday, November 19th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 4:30 PM PST
- Monday, November 20th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST
- Wednesday, November 22nd – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST
- Friday, November 24th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves** – 5:00 PM PST
** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play