As we were saying …
Like it or Not, Trade Talks Will Probably Ramp Up as Zach LaVine Continues to Demonstrate His Abilitieshttps://t.co/utXli7xsHh
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 20, 2021
Zach LaVine is having a career year, and while we might be only 14 games into the season, that doesn’t feel like a soon-to-be #freezingcoldtake. The 25-year-old is flourishing in the Bulls new motion offense, scoring in elite fashion at all three levels and averaging 27.4 points per game (5th in the NBA). More importantly, LaVine has finally found a way to impact the game without finding the bottom of the net. He is averaging 5.3 assists per contest and recorded his highest single-game assist total since his rookie year last week against the Dallas Mavericks (10). Likewise, his help team defense and overall effort on that end of the floor has seen noticeable improvement.
To sum it up, the already valuable LaVine has become only more valuable, which means the flurry of trade talks that have surrounded him over the last year or so is bound to snowball. And with that in mind, it’s not surprising that NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson addressed the topic in his latest mailbag.
Here is what the Bulls insider had to say about the front office potentially entertaining offers on LaVine:
Two things: Nobody is, or should be, untouchable on this roster. And at least for now, word around the league is that the Bulls aren’t looking to move LaVine. Why would they? As you say, he’s playing on an All-Star level and on a value contract.
Johnson’s right, as we’ve discussed plenty of times already, this organization is not in a place where they can take things off the table. The roster – as it currently exists – isn’t going to compete for a championship, let alone a high playoff seed, which is reason enough to hear out all trade offers. At the same time, they would be doing themselves a disservice to dump assets just for the sake of trying something new.
Thanks to multiple seasons of poor player development and even poorer coaching, we still have a lot to learn about the young players on this Bulls roster. And, if anything, LaVine is currently showing Bulls fans why Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley opted for this season of evaluation. I mean, how would you feel if LaVine was playing this efficiently on another team right now? Yeah, not great.
Now, the front office is faced with options, which actually makes things harder than if LaVine didn’t have this epiphany. They may not be actively looking to move him right now, but that makes perfect sense considering the trade deadline is still two months away. Not to mention, why trade a player who is destined for his first All-Star nod? LaVine is taking a leap, and he could very well take the rest of the Bulls franchise with him.
On the other hand, the organization has to try to figure out in advance how great that leap could be. Is it far enough to make a future long-term investment in LaVine worth it? After all, he is potentially bound for a max-level contract after one more season of control, so either the Bulls decide he can be a substantial piece to a contending team, or they do what they can to sell as high as possible. At the end of the day, that is why this will be an ongoing conversation. LaVine is playing great, but the Bulls are still 6-8, and he isn’t a superstar. Unless … he is?