Lakers and East Contender Compete for $215 Million Star: Insider Insights



The Los Angeles Lakers and Their Pursuit of Zach LaVine

Fresh off winning the NBA Cup, the Los Angeles Lakers are still doing their due diligence for their expected pursuit of Chicago Bulls‘ two-time All-Star Zach LaVine. “The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers are expected suitors for LaVine, but both are operating from positions of patience and due diligence,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Monday, December 11.

The Bulls have won four straight games without LaVine, who is out to treat his right foot inflammation. The high-flying wing could miss three to four weeks. The Lakers are monitoring his health situation. The 10-year veteran has only played more than 70 games in just three seasons and only once over the last seven years. They are also wary of the potential fallout of a LaVine trade, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

LaVine is in the second season of a $215 million, five-year max extension he signed with the Bulls last year. The Bulls are having buyer’s remorse following their slow start. The Bulls hitting their strides with LaVine out only bolsters their confidence to part ways with him. The 28-year-old LaVine is under Klutch Sports, which also represents Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis along with role players Cam Reddish and Jarred Vanderbilt.

LaVine, a 38.2% career 3-point shooter will immediately help the Lakers, who are averaging a league-worst 10.2 3s per game on 26th ranked 34.3% shooting clip. The Lakers’ vision is for LaVine to become their third star behind James and Davis. But his durability and defense are big question marks on top of his enormous contract.

Anthony Davis’ Shaq-Like Game

Davis’ monster performance — 41 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and four blocks — led the Lakers to win the inaugural NBA Cup championship over the Indiana Pacers, 123-109 on Saturday, December 9, in Las Vegas. LeBron James called his performance “Shaq-like,” referring to Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Davis scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter that put the game away. During his personal run, he let out a scream, saying “I’m him!”

Shaq Wants to Join Lakers Star’s Vegas Venture

O’Neal hopes to team up with James in bringing NBA to the Sin City. “If there’s ever an NBA team that’s going to come here, I would definitely like to be involved,” O’Neal told The Messenger’s Arash Markazi. “With LeBron, without LeBron, I just want to be involved.”

James, who turns 39 on December 30, plans to own an NBA expansion team in Las Vegas after he retires. “My enthusiasm about being here post-career has not changed,” James said after the NBA Cup victory. “The fans are amazing here. Like I said, they have everything here already — WNBA team, baseball team, NFL, hockey teams. F1 was just here over Thanksgiving.”

“It’s a place that you love, great attractions and I think the NBA will be another great addition to the city. Obviously, we see the success with the [NBA] Summer League and things of that nature and the Aces as well. So it would be fun!”

Alder Almo is a basketball journalist covering the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors for Heavy. He has more than 15 years of experience in local and international media, including broadcast, print and digital. He previously covered the Knicks for Empire Sports Media and the NBA for Off the Glass. Alder is from the Philippines and is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey. More about Alder Almo

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Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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