There are members of the Los Angeles Lakers front office that would be interested in exploring trade options for Anthony Davis, according to Heavy.com's Sean Deveney, and one Western Conference executive believes the Chicago Bulls could be a potential partner.
The executive told Deveney, via Heavy.com's Austin Boyd:
“The main way it would happen if it was going to happen was to get Davis somewhere he wants to go, and the main place he’d want to go is Chicago, where he’s from. Now, some guys do not want to play in their hometown but I think AD would welcome that, he spoke on that before. Doesn’t mean it would happen, they have not gone out and tried to trade him, but there could be something simple like Zach LaVine for AD, you get a pair of guys going to places they really want to be. It would have to wait until January but that would be the deal that makes the most sense if AD is going to change teams.”
An NBA executive recently told Deveney that the Lakers could explore trade options for Davis in the future, particularly after LeBron James departs the franchise:
“A lot of that depends on where LeBron winds up. If he stays in Los Angeles and he stays a Laker, he had a lot personally invested in AD being there, so, yes, in that case, Davis stays. But it is not a sure thing. There are some in that organization who would not mind seeing what they can bring back for AD, but they would not do it with LeBron there. You get to 2024, though, and maybe things change.
"The Lakers have AD for two more years for sure, and they can only hope he stays healthy. But after that, they have to think, is this guy really our future? He can’t stay on the floor. And he has to think, do I want to be here without LeBron? That’s why the Lakers do not want to give up those future picks."
When the Lakers acquired Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in July 2019, the expectation was that he would be their leader when the James era came to a close. However, the 29-year-old has struggled to stay healthy since joining the Purple and Gold, which has been a cause for concern.
The most Davis has played in a regular season for the Lakers came when he suited up in 62 games during his first season with the franchise in 2019-20. Since then, he has played just 76 games over the last two seasons and has been hampered by injuries.
Davis is under contract with the Lakers through at least the 2023-24 season. He has a player option worth $43.2 million in 2024-25, per Spotrac, and it's reasonable to believe he'll opt out in search of a new deal.
If the Lakers know he is going to opt out, they could always look to trade him during the upcoming season or the 2023-24 campaign in order to get something in return. That's where a potential Davis-LaVine swap could come in.
LaVine is a great player and would undoubtedly help the Purple and Gold in their quest for another title. In fact, an NBA executive revealed to Deveney in June that LaVine "wants to be a Laker" and that it's "not really a secret":
"But the roster just is not going to allow for it. The Bulls have a soft spot for Anthony Davis, he is a Chicago guy, that goes up to the ownership. If the Lakers put a swap of AD and LaVine on the table, sure, the Bulls have to look at that.
“But LaVine, everything points to him going back and signing on with Chicago, getting paid. Give it a year or so and if things don’t keep moving forward with the Bulls, then you could start having him pushing for a Lakers trade. The Lakers will be off of Westbrook’s contract, they will have more flexibility.”
However, LaVine just put pen to paper on a five-year, $215 million max extension with the Bulls, so the Lakers would have to be willing to take on his hefty contract in a potential swap.
The 27-year-old would be a solid fit in L.A. and would fill a significant need for a franchise that is desperately searching for perimeter shooting. LaVine has shot 38.6 percent from deep over his eight-year career and is coming off an impressive 2021-22 season in which he averaged 24.4 points per game and 38.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
At this point, though, a Davis-LaVine swap probably won't happen any time soon. However, if the Bulls and Lakers struggle during the 2022-23 season, maybe both sides will engage in discussions.