Knicks "Watching" What Happens in Chicago, as Their Search for a Star Continues

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Knicks “Watching” What Happens in Chicago, as Their Search for a Star Continues

Chicago Bulls

One thing was made very clear earlier this week: Many teams are waiting for the Chicago Bulls to fail.

Prior to the Bulls’ matchup with the Warriors on national television, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stated that “a lot of teams” are keeping a close eye on Chicago’s record. With the team off to an underwhelming 10-14 start, there is hope that the recently revamped front office will opt for a full-fledged rebuild. This would then open the door for championship-caliber teams to target multi-time All-Stars like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Zach LaVine.

One report has already suggested the Los Angeles Lakers have “internally” discussed the concept of targeting DeRozan and Vucevic later this season. And now another report, via Wojnarowski, has name-dropped the New York Knicks as a specific team praying to the basketball gods for a Bulls sell-off.

“Who is the next big player that becomes available that the Knicks can try to make a deal using their picks, using their young players? And that’s the race against the clock right now,” Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown. 

“The Knicks will be watching Chicago. Is Zach LaVine a player before that trade deadline that possibly could become available? He certainly isn’t now.”

First things first, someone like Wojnarowski doesn’t just say things to say things. The fact he’s singling out LaVine in this situation – as opposed to also mentioning DeRozan and Vucevic – further exemplifies how hopeful teams are for the Bulls’ demise. There is a somewhat genuine belief that things can go so south that LaVine becomes the next disgruntled star on the open market.

Do I believe that’s going to happen? Not particularly. And, even if things did get truly ugly, LaVine is likely pretty far down the list of trade candidates for this front office. DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and even someone like Alex Caruso might find themselves in rumors ahead of a previously established building block like LaVine.

Second things second (I know that isn’t a phrase), Wojnarowski makes abundantly clear that LaVine isn’t available at the moment. This also comes after a report from Fox Sports’ Ric Bucher that started both LaVine and DeRozan are viewed as “untouchable” behind closed doors. The fact of the matter is that you need two sides to get a deal done. New York, LA, and any other team can continue to rub their rabbit’s foot and down some Lucky Charms, but the Bulls have seemingly given no indication that a move of that magnitude is something they will consider.

Now, with all that said, I do want to humor the Knicks for a minute. While I want to make it very clear that I don’t think the Bulls would or will trade Zach LaVine, I also can’t deny that New York has the pieces to make a deal work. They have a rather deep arsenal of draft capital with eight first-round picks over the next four drafts. Not to mention, with names like RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, and Cam Reddish, they have enough young names that can certainly help sweeten a pot.

This is a big reason why they were long viewed as the favorite to land Donovan Mitchell. And, who the heck knows, the fact that they didn’t grab Mitchell might make them even more prone to pay up when the next All-Star-caliber player hits the market.

The last thing I’ll say on this is that if you have to trade away a max player for draft picks, you can do a lot worse than compiling the Knicks’ picks. We all know this is an organization that has struggled to stay afloat, and we don’t have any real reason to believe that adding someone like LaVine would lock them into long-term success. But, again, I don’t think this is a conversation that will happen between the two franchises any time soon. I fully expect this front office to continue to build around their recently-signed player.

Anyway, you can check out Woj’s full comments in the video below:



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.