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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Report: Lakers eyeing big trade with Bulls

Rob Pelinka at a press conference

Jun 6, 2022; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka speaks before introducing head coach Darvin Ham at UCLA Health Training Center Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Though it is not the 1991 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls could be linking up again.

On an episode Friday of his self-titled podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe revealed the the Lakers have had some “internal discussions” about the possibility of a big trade with the Bulls. According to the proposed framework, the Lakers would send Russell Westbrook and their first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Bulls for DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.

DeRozan, 33, and Vucevic, 32, each have ties to the Los Angeles area, having both attended college at USC. The latter will be a free agent after the season (like Westbrook), but the former is signed through the 2023-24 campaign and had an interesting saga with the Lakers two summers ago.

Of course, there is not much reason for the Bulls to make that trade unless they want to torpedo their team for the sake of a complete rebuild. They are 9-12 this season but can still easily be a playoff team in the East if they string together a few wins. All-Star Zach LaVine is also in his prime at 27 years old, so it makes sense for Chicago to try and maximize him right now instead of kicking the can down the road in the hopes of finding future success.

It obviously cannot hurt the 8-12 Lakers to try to swing for the fences with such a trade. But a far more likely scenario would probably be the Lakers making a smaller acquisition like this one instead.

H/T Legion Hoops

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