Two-time NBA All-Star Zach LaVine stands to make a lot of money this offseason. The Chicago Bulls guard has taken major leaps forward over the last four seasons as he’s averaged over 20 points per game and separated himself from just being a two-time slam dunk contest winner.
What also makes LaVine such a valuable talent is he showed this past season that he can still put up the same numbers as he has for the last few seasons while taking a back seat to another top scorer — in DeMar DeRozan — and be a key part of a winning team.
The only issue for the 27-year-old star heading into the biggest pay bump of his career is the left knee issues he has developed over the last few years. In 2017 he had surgery on the joint, and then he had a non-contact injury to it in January. The issue would end up badly hindering him for the rest of the season and he’ll need offseason arthroscopic surgery.
As he heads into a life-altering NBA free agent journey, let’s take a look at four likely landing spots for Zach LaVine this summer.
Atlanta Hawks get Trae Young some help
As absurdly talented a scorer as Trae Young is, the NBA world saw during the 2022 NBA Playoffs that the Atlanta Hawks star really needs a talented wingman. Despite playing a Miami Heat team sans superstar Jimmy Butler, the Hawks were still eliminated in Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series. It was a disappointing end to a season that did not deliver on the promise this group showed in reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020-2021.
The team’s second-leading scorer this season was Jason Collins at 16.2 points per game. That is just not going to cut it. Young needs more help and a legitimate scorer like LaVine would take a lot of the load away from Young and give him easier buckets. A Young-LaVine duo could very well become the Eastern Conference version of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Portland Trailblazers fill the CJ McCollum scoring void
After trading CJ McCollum before the trade deadline, the Portland Trailblazers lost a lot of their offensive punch. Superstar Damian Lillard being out for the end of the season after abdominal surgery didn’t help either. The team is in the midst of a rebuild but the Lillard-McCollum combo did help bring Portland back to prominence. That wasn’t a broken situation that needed to be fixed, but one that just needed fresh and different parts.