Zach LaVine trade destinations: Lakers, Sixers, Heat and Raptors among top landing spots for Bulls star

With Chicago off to a very disappointing start to their season, Zach LaVine could be on the move.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania wrote on Tuesday that “there’s been increased openness from the organization and player about exploring a trade.” Charania’s co-worker at The Athletic, Darnell Mayberry, added, “one league source told me this week the Bulls won’t have the same roster in a month. Change feels imminent in Chicago.” 

LaVine is a two-time All-Star but is in the midst of a down year. He’s averaging 21.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game, but shooting just 40.9 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3. 

LaVine should recover back to his career norms of 46.3 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from 3. He has had good moments, such as dropping 51 points against the Pistons in the Bulls’ third game of the season. And he’s in his prime at 28 years old.

LaVine has been in trade rumors for a while now. There has been some previous information about what the Bulls might be seeking in return for his services.

A league source told NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson prior to the draft that the team would be seeking “a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine. Another said “one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing.”

Lavine is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million maximum contract which makes salary matching tricky. But there are plenty of teams that could meet the kind of request that the Bulls are seeking, or get close to it. Here are the most likely suitors for LaVine. 

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Zach LaVine trade destinations

Philadelphia 76ers

Why it makes sense

The Sixers have the assets to make a move for a star player. One more high-end addition could be enough to make them the favorites over the Celtics. LaVine might be the best one that comes on the market. 

LaVine isn’t a perfect fit in Philadelphia. A two-way wing would be better alongside Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. But Daryl Morey has always been about getting the talent in the door and worrying about the fit later.

Potential trade

Tobias Harris’ $39.2 million salary matches up almost perfectly with LaVine’s $40.0 million. Harris for LaVine, plus two first-round picks, would be a great haul for the Bulls. 

In lieu of Harris, the Sixers could also aggregate the expiring contracts of Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington. In going that route, they would have to wait until Dec. 30 to complete the trade. 

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Los Angeles Lakers

Why it makes sense

The Lakers have been in dire need of supporting players to put alongside LeBron James. He’s had to carry way too high of an offensive load this season, averaging 35 minutes per game. 

Austin Reaves looks tired after going straight from the Western Conference Finals to the FIBA World Cup. D’Angelo Russell has struggled with shot selection. Gabe Vincent hasn’t been able to hit a shot. Rui Hachimura has played well but missed games due to injury. 

The Lakers could really use the scoring punch that LaVine brings to juice up their No. 25 offense. And LaVine’s defensive issues could be mitigated with a rim protector like Anthony Davis. LaVine went to school at UCLA, so it would be a return back to Los Angeles for him. 

Potential trade

The Lakers have one first-round pick that they could throw into a trade, in either 2029 or 2030. They would have to throw in both D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura in order to get close to LaVine’s salary. Both players have restrictions on their contracts preventing them from being moved until Jan. 15. 

The Lakers’ best offer could be something like Russell, Hachimura, Austin Reaves, and their 2029 first-round pick in exchange for LaVine, Andre Drummond, and Julian Philips. 

MORE: Explaining Lakers’ decision to move Austin Reaves to the bench

Indiana Pacers

Why it makes sense

The Pacers have managed to create the best offense of all time. Why not lean into that even harder with LaVine? 

LaVine hasn’t had a point guard like Tyrese Haliburton since his early days playing alongside Ricky Rubio in Minnesota. There is another level that he could potentially get to with someone setting him up rather than having him get everything himself the hard way. 

The Pacers haven’t been able to attract star free agents, so trading for a player like LaVine is their best shot to pair high-end talent with Haliburton. 

Potential trade

The Pacers have all of their own first-round picks to trade, plus an additional first-round pick in the 2024 draft.

Bruce Brown and Buddy Hield would get them to LaVine’s salary number, although Brown cannot be traded until Dec. 15. Both have trade value if the Bulls wanted to flip them again after acquiring them. Those two along with two first-round picks would be a good haul for the Bulls. 

Toronto Raptors

O.G. Anunoby guards Zach LaVine

Why it makes sense

The Raptors are a surprisingly spicy team. They have defended at a top-10 level, but their offense is ranked 27th in the league. They need some scoring help.

Scottie Barnes has taken a clear leap, and his skills overlap somewhat with Pascal Siakam. LaVine would give them a different type of scorer who could spread the floor more for Barnes. 

This wouldn’t make a ton of sense for the Bulls, but it would fit with their ethos of not wanting to rebuild. Maybe a shuffling of pieces would create better chemistry on the team. 

Potential trade

Siakam and LaVine’s salaries match up almost perfectly. They could be traded straight-up for each other. 

Siakam is an expiring contract, so the Bulls would have to get some sort of assurance that Siakam would want to sign in Chicago long-term for a trade like this to work. 

MORE: How sustainable is Scottie Barnes’ hot start to the season?

Miami Heat

Why it makes sense

The Heat are the No. 24 offense in the league. Jimmy Butler needs help. They already had a trade package put together for Damian Lillard that they could modify for LaVine. 

LaVine’s defensive warts would be covered well on the Heat. He’s a hard worker that would fit into their culture. And he could take a clear secondary role behind Butler, making his decision-making issues in the clutch much less pronounced. 

Potential trade

Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro would get the Heat past LaVine’s salary number. The Bulls could throw in Jevon Carter (who has a trade restriction until Dec. 15) to make the salaries match. 

The Heat could also throw in two picks in 2028 and 2030. 

Golden State Warriors

Why it makes sense

The Warriors, incredibly, have not had a player aside from Steph Curry score more than 20 points through their first 11 games. They need to get Curry some help because Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins have looked like shells of their former selves. 

Potential trade

Klay Thompson is on an expiring contract. He and the Warriors have not been close on coming to terms on an extension. If the Warriors have lost faith in Thompson, then they can’t waste one of the last years of Curry being a top-five player. 

Thompson could be traded for LaVine and Drummond, giving the Warriors some much-needed size as well. They could also throw in a first-round pick in 2028 and add a 2026 one as well by amending the protections owed on their 2024 pick to Portland. 

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