Houston Rockets trade target #1: Zach LaVine
At 25 years old, Zach LaVine has quietly ascended to one of the league’s star players, and his contract status makes him even more appealing. LaVine agreed to terms on a four-year extension that pays him $78 million in 2018, nearly a year after he was dealt to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler.
LaVine’s scoring averages have increased in each of the last three seasons, as outlined below:
- 2018-19-23.7 points (16th-best)
- 2019-20: 25.5 points (11th-best)
- 2020-21: 27.7 points (3rd-most)
Although LaVine is without question a scoring guard, he has the ability to facilitate and create offense for others, as he’s averaging 4.6 assists this season, which is a career-best for him. LaVine is also an outside shooting threat, as he holds career 3-point shooting averages of 37.5 percent, which is nearly identical to his percentage this season.
LaVine has been on a tear this season, as he’s scored 30 or more points in each of his last three games, including 45 points in his last game against the LA Clippers. In that game, LaVine turned in a statline of 45 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while making 10-of-16 treys, which was good for 62.5 percent from deep.
LaVine turned in a true shooting percentage of 79.8 percent, which is outer-worldly. Unfortunately for LaVine, the Bulls lost the game in spite of his stellar efforts, which is something that he’s become all too familiar with.
The Bulls have lost each of their last three games in which LaVine had a scoring surge, and have yet to taste the postseason, as they’ve been one of the worst teams in the league since he was dealt there, as displayed below:
- 2017-18: 27-55
- 2018-19: 22-60
- 2019-20: 22-43
Despite making a coaching change this season, the Bulls currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, as they’re 4-7 as of this writing. From a contractual standpoint LaVine and Oladipo could be evenly swapped, although the Bulls would likely request a draft pick, as LaVine is younger than Oladipo, not to mention the fact that Oladipo doesn’t want to be in Chicago.
Although LaVine’s contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season, the Rockets would without question give him an extension, and for a player who has yet to play in the postseason, it would seem like he’d be ecstatic about the prospects of joining a contending team in the Western Conference.