It’s very Chicago Bulls to finally consider trading Zach LaVine and breaking up the roster the year after
the Wembanyama/Henderson/Thompson twins draft, going into what is regarded as a down year at the top of the board, but here we are.
The Bulls are considering trading Zach LaVine — and he is open to it — which has put the NBA trade rumor mill into overdrive early this season. Here is a roundup of the latest credible rumors.
• The Lakers, Heat and 76ers are the three teams most mentioned in LaVine rumors. Reports out of Philly say the 76ers front office wants to wait, see how the team they have develops over the next month, then make whatever move they decide to go with. Nothing will be rushed.
• The Lakers are open to a LaVine trade — but at their price. Jovan Buha at The Athletic says the Lakers would not want to send out Austin Reaves in any trade. The deal would be something like D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura/Gabe Vincent, and a future first-round pick (which the Lakers would want protected). Is that enough to interest the Bulls? They likely have better offers elsewhere. It’s also fair to question how much better that really makes the Lakers — it gives them a more reliable secondary shot creator on the perimeter but doesn’t improve their defense or 3-point shooting in a meaningful way. Is that worth sending out a first-round pick?
Los Angeles — like a lot of teams watching the situation, league sources have told NBC Sports — is more interested if the Bulls decide to blow everything up and make DeMar DeRozan (and his expiring contract) or defensive specialist Alex Caruso available. The Lakers also couldn’t make a LaVine (or any other) trade until after Dec. 15, they don’t have the players available for a deal (unless they want to trade LeBron James, which we can safely say is not happening).
• LaVine is distinctly not interested in being traded to the Knicks and the feeling is mutual, reports Stefan Bondy at the New York Post.
The reason is that RJ Barrett has a similar skill set to LaVine — although Barrett is not on LaVine’s level — and comes with a much cheaper contract. The Knicks are waiting on making a move for a true franchise changer, and while LaVine is an All-Star he is not the level of player the Knicks are targeting.
• The Dallas Mavericks are not expected to get into the bidding, reports Marc Stein on his must-read Substack
. That makes sense, they already have two ball-dominant players in Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, adding another guy who needs that many touches doesn’t make a lot of sense.
• For his part, LaVine calls the trade rumors business as usual and says he’s not dealing with it because
that’s what he has agents for.I asked LaVine if he felt additional weight tonight given the news surrounding him the past 24 hours.
“I’ve had this news for three years, Darnell,” he said. “It’s nothing new to me. This is a regular Wednesday.”
pic.twitter.com/Je99jsZgJW— Darnell Mayberry (DarnellMayberry) November 16, 2023• What hampers all the LaVine trade talk is his contract — he is owed three years, $138 million after this season (teams would be on the hook for the rest of the $40 million he is owed this season as well). The final year of that contract is a $49 million player option. LaVine brings scoring to the table, averaging 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds a game this season, but doesn’t provide much beyond that at a high level.