The Toronto Raptors need to be on the lookout for players who can improve this roster if they don’t want to watch the season waste away, and the Chicago Bulls might be putting one of the best short-term upgrades out there on the market in high-scoring guard Zach LaVine.
Although LaVine is once again averaging well over 20 points per game, the Bulls appear designed for another season without a playoff appearance. The trade rumors seem to be starting in earnest, and the Raptors have been thrown around as a potential trade partner by names like Zach Lowe.
The Raptors’ offense is horrid right now, and LaVine would immediately be the best half-court scorer on the team. If Masai Ujiri believes in this group (which it looks like he does to a fault), couldn’t a trade for LaVine show that he wants to compete this season and beyond?
While LaVine in Toronto could supercharge this offense, the Raptors would be better off eschewing him in favor of someone else. The pitfalls that would come with acquiring LaVine would be more of a negative for Toronto than his stats would indicate.
The Toronto Raptors shouldn’t trade for Zach LaVine.
Toronto is short on assets due to their recent wheeling and dealing. They have no draft picks in 2024, and three of their six best players are on expiring contracts. Neither of those things will appeal to a Bulls team that will likely take whatever offer helps them build for the future.
While both Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby are impending free agents, it stands to reason at least one of them will be back next season as the No. 2 star behind Scottie Barnes. Building around Barnes has been hard enough for this franchise, so why add yet another ball-dominant player to the mix?
LaVine is owed $43 million and $45 million in the next two seasons while possessing a $48 million player option he will almost assuredly opt in to. How can the Raptors take on LaVine, sign Anunoby or Siakam, and extend Barnes all at once? Even if they do that, the bench will still be lackluster.
LaVine is a tremendous talent, but he might just be the wrong guy for the Raptors at the wrong time. Improvements can be made to this roster, but going all-in on LaVine while taking time away from Barnes could come back to bite Toronto in the rear almost immediately.