“It’s not one team,” Paul told The Athletic regarding the LaVine situation. “I don’t have a specific destination for Zach. I want what’s best for Zach and his family. When you have a guy playing the game, you want him to be able to play the game happy, whether that’s in Chicago or somewhere else.”
Trade rumors involving LaVine and the Lakers go at least as far back as last season and have not cooled at all since this NBA campaign started in October. However, the Bulls have yet to make a move, and it is still somewhat unclear what they might want for the 28-year-old scorer.
LaVine signed a five-year contract worth $215 million with the Bulls in July 2022. It includes a player option for the 2026-27 season.
He is currently sidelined by a foot injury and has not played since Nov. 28, so it is entirely unknown when he would be able to contribute to any possible new team. In 18 appearances this season, he is averaging 21.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
The Lakers also reportedly have been linked to LaVine’s Bulls teammates Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan. Chicago has a 10-17 record so far this season and may be prepared for a retool, if not a complete rebuild.
“In the event the Bulls decide they would like to go a different direction with the team, and it involves Zach, then I’m sure we’ll have conversations to get clarity on what’s best for both sides,” Paul said. “Until then, the goal is to get healthy and return ready to go.”
The Lakers maintain championship aspirations and are 15-11 heading into their home game against the New York Knicks on Monday. With LeBron James leading the way, Los Angeles won the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament but might believe it needs to improve to ultimately challenge for another NBA title.
While James and Anthony Davis have both been playing at MVP-type paces, the supporting cast has not quite performed at the level that helped the Lakers reach the Western Conference Finals last season.
For example, breakout star Austin Reaves, reportedly a possible trade target for the Bulls, is averaging 14.8 points per game this season after putting up 16.9 points per game during the 2023 NBA Playoffs and getting a big contract this past offseason.
It seems the Lakers are intent on shaking up their roster at some point. Whether that is with LaVine or someone else remains to be seen.