Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors have never seen a star guard they won’t connect themselves to via trade rumors, and Chicago Bulls stud Zach LaVine is no exception. Even as the Raptors start to move closer to seller territory, they have their tendrils reaching out to Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Raptors are expected to show some interest in acquiring LaVine via trade. Even though the Bulls are likely heading towards a more earnest sell-off, the Raptors might be willing to take on some of the best teams in the league as they try to lock down LaVine.
Not only have the usual suspects in star-hunting trade chases like the Lakers and Heat been thrown out as potential LaVine destinations, but younger teams like the Spurs and Kings seem to be in the hunt. Saying Toronto faces an uphill climb in this sweepstakes is a huge understatement.
The Raptors need to be well aware of the fact that every argument in favor of trading for LaVine can be countered with an equally strong rebuttal that would suggest Toronto show more restraint in this endeavor. Which philosophy will win out? Should the Raptors go after LaVine?
Pros and Cons of Toronto Raptors trading for Zach LaVine.
The Raptors are short on offensive talent and backcourt depth, and LaVien would help solve both of those issues in one fell swoop. LaVine is averaging 22.6 points per game with a true shooting percentage of just under 56% this season, and those numbers are still down from his peak in the last few years.
A starting lineup featuring LaVine next to Dennis Schroder, Scottie Barnes, and (potentially) Pascal Siakam would give the league’s worst half-court offense a huge nitro boost. If Ujiri really believes in this core, why not go all-in with a flashy move like this?
The Toronto Raptors could lean on Zach LaVine on offense.
LaVine is only going to be 29 years old in March, so the Raptors could get multiple years of high-end production out of him. With so many names on this team potentially testing the free agent market, this could help guard against that while locking down a potential needle-moving star alongside Barnes that helps fix their spacing issues.
If Toronto gets a third team involved, they could potentially offload Siakam and get a backcourt player who will likely cost much less over the next two seasons than Pascal will once he hits the open market. This could open up a path to giving OG Anunoby a huge contract and setting up a new Big Three.