There are going to be many factors at play for the Lakers in the coming weeks that’ll determine whether they make a trade, particularly for Zach LaVine or anyone else on their roster. For now, the team seems focused on assessing what they have with their current roster before considering any upgrades or engaging in any substantive talks.
But if those discussions begin, a lot of things will be at play. And one of the factors, either big or small, is that LeBron James is reportedly a fan of both DeMar DeRozan and LaVine.
It’s something that multiple people have reported over the last week, the more recent of those being from Jovan Buha of The Athletic. In a discussion with Bulls beat writer Darnell Mayberry about the possibility of a LaVine trade, Buha mentioned the following (emphasis added).
“Of course, LaVine is a Klutch Sports client, and that factor can’t be overlooked. The partnership between the Lakers and Klutch, the powerhouse agency headed by LeBron James’ childhood friend Rich Paul, has been mutually beneficial over the past five years. The Lakers have understandably had an affinity for Klutch players during James’ tenure and currently feature four on their roster (James, Anthony Davis, Cam Reddish, Jarred Vanderbilt). James has also long been a fan of LaVine’s, as well as DeRozan’s, for what it’s worth.”
Both players have had long-standing connections with the Lakers and LeBron. With DeRozan, his desire to have been a Laker has been oft-discussed and LeBron was apparently in support of the team going after him.
LaVine is not particularly a shock that LeBron is a fan, though it hadn’t been reported. But Buha isn’t the only person to have heard of LeBron being a fan of LaVine’s as Ryen Russillo also said as much on a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast.
“I know in the past, I don’t know what the updated latest of it is, is that LeBron really likes Zach LaVine. And then you add the Klutch thing into it and I know people are saying ‘Ok, there’s no market for LaVine whatsoever.’ Never underestimate the power of an agent to find a way to get this done. I know Rich Paul has even said ‘Hey, I have clients on all these teams. It doesn’t mean that this is going to happen.’...But I think that’s the simple fit because I know in the past, LeBron did like LaVine.”
How much should all this matter, though? LeBron was a supporter of trading for Russell Westbrook over a deal for Buddy Hield, for example. Him being a fan of a player has not meant it’s a good outcome for the Lakers.
Now, for the record, there’s nothing indicating LeBron is pushing for any sort of move for LaVine or DeRozan or anyone. For now, this is more of just something to note and keep in the back of the mind if or when trade talks start to legitimately heat up.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.