LaVar Ball has been relatively quiet since getting two of his three boys into the NBA. He hasn’t been stirring up drama or any media antics; he’s been a supportive father helping his sons navigate the professional sports industry.
But recently he predicted that his son Lonzo’s teammate Zach LaVine will leave Chicago this year and somehow end up on the Lakers. What a season it was for Chicago.
They won 46 games en route to a playoff berth. Though the Milwaukee Bucks dismantled them in the first round of the playoffs, they were the best team in the Eastern Conference at one point, holding the No. 1 seed. DeMar DeRozan was ballin’ out of his mind and had even acquired some MVP consideration.
They formed a roster of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Nikolai Vucevic, and Zach LaVine, and this team was formidable. But after the season’s end, many speculated that LaVine was unhappy with his usage in Chicago this past season. With his decline in usage, they saw little to no results in the postseason.
This is one of the main reasons LaVar anticipates that LaVine will look to sign elsewhere this offseason, namely the Lakers.
LaVar Ball went on “The ReKap” with David Kaplan to discuss the Chicago Bulls and his son. He also spoke about LaVine, how he feels LaVine is feeling about this past season, and what he will do moving forward. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t have much optimism about the 27-year-old staying in Chicago.
“He’s gone. And I’m gonna tell you why. OK, it started off Zach LaVine, Zach LaVine, Zach LaVine. OK, now you get hurt, a few things happen, and guess who’s doing all the big plays. All I hear is DeMar [DeRozan]. DeMar, DeMar, DeMar. He don’t want to play second fiddle. And who don’t want to go to L.A.? He wanna go back to the West Coast. … If he got a chance to go there? I guarantee you he ain’t no fool.”
Now LaVar may be partially correct in his statement about LaVine because the Seattle native was disgruntled in Chicago, especially with their former coach Fred Hoiberg. However, once the Chicago Bulls signed DeMar DeRozan in free agency, LaVine had a newfound optimism for the Windy City franchise.
They were making the necessary steps to return to a winning culture.
Not The First Option
While that still may ring true, LaVine is no longer the first option in Chicago, and because of that, his numbers have gone down from the previous seasons. LaVine averaged 24.4 points per game, 4.5 assists per game, and 4.6 rebounds per game. The only time LaVine has averaged less than that in Chicago was his first two seasons in the Windy City, when he only played a combined 87 games over those two campaigns.
LaVine is undoubtedly in the prime of his career, being voted to All-Star teams in his past two seasons and reaching his career-high in points per game in 2020-2021 with 27.4 points per game. With his mentality and those numbers, Zach may feel that he’s ready to leap to superstardom, and he also knows that it might be on another team that he finds that superstardom.
DeRozan averaged a career-high 27.7 points per game this year, was an all-star, and was the first scoring option for the Bulls this season. Though LaVine is five years younger than DeRozan and last season averaged only 3.5 points per game less than him, DeRozan caught a groove was unstoppable for the better part of the season and became the clear scoring option for Chicago.
Though there is no word whether LaVine is upset with Chicago, many fans and players alike are trying their best to recruit LaVine to their teams because he is set to become a free agent this summer. At the same time, the former UCLA Bruin would probably love a return to Los Angeles and to be a young star with money in Hollywood. But that would go against the theory that he is upset with being “second fiddle,” according to LaVar.
A move to L.A. would mean being third fiddle behind Anthony Davis and LeBron James, and there’s no guarantee that a Lakers squad featuring LaVine would do any better than Chicago, as the Lakers failed to make the playoffs last year.
There are many other components blocking a LaVine to the Lakers signing or trade, including Westbrook, should he exercise his $47.1 million option, and the Lakers not having any more cap space to sign formidable bench and role players. Many speculate that LaVine will stay in Chicago; though it’s not a given anymore, it is his best option right now. Anything regarding LaVine’s free agency will probably be dragged out throughout the free agency, as LaVine will be looking to make his next move.