Zach LaVine Is Drawing Interest from at Least Three Teams, But Bulls Probably Won’t Budge
Even if the Chicago Bulls look to cash in on some of their players at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline, it sure sounds like Zach LaVine will be protected at all costs.
Rumors have swirled all season long about certain teams praying that the Bulls make him available. Those same rumors have only been fueled by reports of LaVine “questioning” his role within the team and not seeing “eye-to-eye” with the organization. However, per ESPN’s Jamal Collier, LaVine recently threw some cold water on all that drama, claiming that his commitment to the team has not wavered since signing his lucrative contract this summer.
Collier also emphasized that word around the league has been that the Bulls aren’t entertaining deals on the two-time All-Star:
LaVine, who signed a five-year, $215 million contract extension in July, has drawn interest from several teams, including the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, but rival executives say the Bulls have shown little interest in moving him at the deadline. LaVine reiterated his commitment to Chicago recently, stating he signed an extension because he wanted to be with the Bulls and that hasn’t changed.
“Team’s not playing well, so you’re always going to hear those stories,” LaVine told ESPN last week.
LaVine is absolutely right. When a team isn’t playing well, these kinds of rumors are almost unavoidable. Not only are fans going to cry for drastic change (warranted or not), but opposing executives are going to hold out hope that they can pry away that struggling team’s top talent. None of that matters, though. All that does matter is what the *Bulls* want to do, and word has remained adamant that they will not move on from their max player at this time.
For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is preaching the same sentiment. After Zach Lowe brought up a LaVine-Lakers trade concept on The Lowe Post podcast, Windhorst didn’t hesitate to shut it down:
“I don’t think the Bulls will trade LaVine, and if they do I’ll have egg on my face. I mean, there is some package they would trade them for, I don’t think the Bulls are going to surrender. And also their situation, even though you can argue it’s smart, their situation where they don’t control their draft pick this year doesn’t behoove tanking and that would be taking. That would be a tanking move.”
Trading LaVine would completely reverse the trajectory of this franchise. And while I wholeheartedly accept that significant change is needed for this roster to succeed, I’ve never thought that would include moving LaVine. The front office paid him for a reason, and I have to imagine they try to retool around him rather than move on from him the first opportunity they get.
With that said, it also doesn’t seem like the Bulls plan to part ways with Nikola Vucevic or DeMar DeRozan either. Windhorst said he doesn’t expect the team to surrender, Collier wrote that team sources denied any intention to trade the core players, and The Athletic’s Shams Charania said the Bulls might even look to add this week. Yup, all signs are pointing to standing pat or doubling down on this pre-existing roster.
Could that all be a smokescreen for some kind of bigger move? Sure. We can’t rule it out until after 2:00 p.m. CT on Thursday. But what I think we can rule out is LaVine will not be a part of ANY conversation this week.