Despite adding Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević, and Alex Caruso in the most active free agency period in franchise history, rival executives are still fixated on the potential for a Zach LaVine trade.
According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, LaVine is one of the top-3 stars opposing front offices will have a close eye on this season.
“Now, when you talk to executives around the league, all eyes are centered on Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, and Zach LaVine as the guys that rival executives are keeping tabs on as the next potential star who could be move,” Scotto said on a recent episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.
I thought things might die down on the trade rumor front after this ultra-active offseason. After all, the Bulls are clearly invested in making the playoffs this year, and one way to ensure that doesn’t happen would be to trade the team’s best player. LaVine is not going anywhere unless he locks himself in Arturas Karnisovas’ office and refuses to come out until he has a flight booked elsewhere. And we have received absolutely zero indication that LaVine will go this route. If anything, LaVine has remained committed to the Bulls organization, and reports even surfaced that he played a significant role in recruiting talent to the Windy City this summer (Michael: Indeed, it certainly seems like the front office has gone out of their way to give LaVine the sort of team he’d be happy to stick on a while longer).
Now, if front offices are keeping tabs on LaVine’s 2022 free agency, I get it. While this free agent period only made me feel more confident in the Bulls’ ability to hand LaVine a max contract next summer, the fact of the matter is he will be an unrestricted free agent. The guy will have the right to take meetings and sign wherever he wants. Again, I fully anticipate he will remain in Chicago, but no current contractual agreement means opposing teams have a tiny thread onto which they can clutch.
So I think that is ultimately what this tidbit tells us (reminds us?): Until LaVine puts pen to paper, we should expect to hear our fair share of speculation (especially with no winning product yet on the floor). Karnisovas and Marc Eversley surely expected this when they decided not to go the route of working out a contract extension this offseason. However, they also surely expect that the big-name players they recently signed will have LaVine playing in Chicago for years to come.