The Chicago Bulls may trade Zach LaVine ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft.
Last summer the Bulls signed LaVine to a five-year, $215 million contract. Things went awry almost immediately. On the court, the 28-year-old suffered from a plethora of lower body injuries that got his 2022-23 NBA campaign off to a slow start.
Although LaVine got better as the year progressed, he often showed signs of frustration with his role in Chicago’s schemes.
With the Bulls stuck in an unfortunate middle ground of neither being a title contender nor a bad team on the verge of a rebuild, something’s got to give. And the first step of a proper “reset” would involve trading LaVine away.
Last week, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that Chicago has “started contacting teams, quietly gauging the trade interest” in LaVine.
With the 2023 NBA Draft looming this week, dealing LaVine now would likely be ideal for all parties involved.
At the moment, four teams seem like the likeliest frontrunners for his services.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are two squads to watch.
“But if the Trail Blazers are in fact keeping all-world guard Damian Lillard, could that make LaVine the next hot commodity for teams like the Trail Blazers or Miami?” Cowley noted.
“Realistically, a handful of doors from other teams would have to be slammed in Portland’s face for the Blazers to come around for LaVine.”
Miami, particularly, makes a lot of sense. At this juncture LaVine is a better player with a higher ceiling than Bradley Beal. So if the Heat were willing to go in big on Beal, the same should theoretically be true for LaVine.
If not Miami or Portland, the New York Knicks are also worth keeping an eye on. They have been increasingly linked to LaVine in recent days.
— NBATradeReport (@NBATradeReport) June 20, 2023
According to Bulls insider K.C. Jones, Chicago knows what it wants in any potential deal centering around LaVine.
“One league source said the Bulls would be focused on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine,” he reported.
“Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing.”
The Knicks’ potential packages, on paper at least, would check a lot of boxes for Chicago.
Finally, don’t sleep on the Los Angeles Lakers. They have been linked to LaVine so much in recent months that ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe even charted the path that L.A. would have to take to get him.
LaVine, for what it’s worth, has his own preference regarding where he would want to go.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/TxaW1WcbsN
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 21, 2023
The next 24 hours promise to be extremely hectic.
A lot of NBA teams could see their fortunes change for both the better or worse depending on how they navigate the next day.
Which chair will LaVine ultimately be sitting in when the music stops on Thursday? Time will tell.