Nets: projecting 2020-2021 starting lineup if Brooklyn acquires Zach LaVine

Bulls guard Zach LaVine (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Bulls guard Zach LaVine (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Nets are reportedly inquiring about the availability of Zach LaVine.

With the Chicago Bulls seemingly years away from becoming a perennial playoff contender, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that star Zach LaVine demands a trade in the near future.

Even if that doesn’t happen, it’s possible that the franchise — under the leadership of new vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas — looks to cash in on the former No. 13 overall pick before his contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season.

To keep a long story short, LaVine’s future in the Windy City is as slippery as it’s ever been, and SNY insider Ian Begley amplified that narrative on Friday by reporting that the Brooklyn Nets (among other teams) are closely monitoring the 25-year-old’s availability so that they could potentially swoop in and strike a deal with the Bulls when the time’s right.

Any trade for LaVine would make Brooklyn the prohibitive favorite in the Eastern Conference as it would give the team a trio of stars. These are obviously just rumors and there’s no way to know what the future holds for the All-Star snub, but that won’t stop us from projecting what the Nets lineup could look like if they land him.

A deal for LaVine would cost Brooklyn dramatically in terms of depth because Chicago would surely demand a haul in return for him. In this scenario, let’s assume that one or two of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen — as much as general manager Sean Marks would love to keep them — would be headed to Chicago.

Projecting the Nets 2020-21 Lineup With Zach LaVine

1. Kyrie Irving (PG)

2. Zach LaVine (SG)

3. Caris LeVert (SF)

4. Kevin Durant (PF)

5. DeAndre Jordan (C)

This star-studded rotation would give a whole new meaning to the rarely appropriate “death lineup” label.  Brooklyn would figure to lead the NBA in scoring by a wide margin with this starting five.

If the Nets unloaded LeVert, we could see something like:

1. Kyrie Irving (PG)

2. Joe Harris (SG) (if they re-sign him)

3. Zach LaVine (SF)

4. Kevin Durant (PF)

5. DeAndre Jordan (C)

Before you scoff at the idea of LaVine playing the three, let us tell you that he’s 6-foot-6 and one of the league’s best athletes. The UCLA product could more than hold his own defending opposing small forwards, especially in today’s game. Additionally, Dinwiddie would have to come off the bench in this scenario. Having more than three ball-dominant scorers (Irving, LaVine, Durant) on the court at the same time would throw a wrench into the rhythm of the offense.

A team led by Irving and Durant is enough to morph the Nets into a championship contender. Throw LaVine and his 25.5 points per game into the mix, and we might be looking at the betting favorite to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

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