Chicago Bulls: Could Zach LaVine want a trade soon?

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

Essentially the face of the Chicago Bulls rebuild right now, shooting guard Zach LaVine, has trade speculation beginning around media and fan circles.

At this time of the year, overreactions tend to be abundant. Especially since fans of teams like the Chicago Bulls didn’t get to watch their team play in meaningful game action in a long long while prior to the start of this regular season slate, the overreactions are both abundant and understandable.

It’s really challenging for fans of any “Delete Eight” team from last season to remain patient with the process of their team adjusting to the new season. And considering all of the changes that the Bulls made within the organization from the top-down since spring, there’s even more for this team to adjust to at the outset of this regular season.

One of the current Bulls players that tended to fall victim to all of the overreactions and speculation at the outset of this season is the standout 25-year-old shooting guard Zach LaVine. Since he is one of the best pure scorers in the Eastern Conference, and still has yet to make even a single trip to the postseason in his six year long NBA career, the trade discussions surrounding LaVine were bound to start up again if the Bulls didn’t win out of the gates.

Considering that the Bulls are a winless 0-3 through their first trio of games for this regular season slate, LaVine trade speculation (and really nothing more at this moment) is not shocking. LaVine had a really nice outing in the Bulls tough last second one-point loss to the Golden State Warriors at home back on Dec. 27. But his play wasn’t very efficient in the losses to the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers to start out the regular season.

Through three games played this season (all of which he started in), LaVine largely provided mix results for this Bulls team. He’s averaged 24.0 points per game, 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, and a whopping five turnovers. LaVine shot 47.3 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line.

After the Bulls winless start up to this point, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago kicked the tires on the hypothetical idea of a LaVine trade request. I do want to make it clear that this piece from NBC Sports Chicago doesn’t mention any concrete evidence of LaVine requesting a trade from the Bulls recently, but it does bring up the tension that could come about in this team-player relationship in the midst of all of this losing.

Here’s more on what Johnson had to say on this matter in this piece from NBC Sports Chicago.

"As the best player on a bad team, LaVine always has represented the Bulls’ biggest asset.But what if LaVine reaches his breaking point and seeks an address change?To be clear, there are no indications this will happen or that LaVine has entertained the thought. But in this age of stars getting traded and, more importantly, LaVine’s consistent public message that he’s tired of losing and wants to play for a winner, would it be a surprise?Maybe a little since LaVine loves living in Chicago, always has ably handled being the face of the franchise and represented the Bulls well both on the court and in the community. He also has made clear his excitement level for the player-first mentality espoused by the new management regime of Artūras Karnišovas and Marc Eversley and the resume of new coach Billy Donovan."

There would be valid reason for LaVine wanting change since he’s essentially in the prime years of his career, at least going by his age, and the Bulls just aren’t winning with him as the face of this rebuild. He could be a nice second or third piece on a playoff contender, which could finally get him over the postseason hump and more respect around the NBA landscape.

I do also want to mention that first-year head coach Billy Donovan could still help this Bulls team turn the corner very soon. There’s a lot to figure out for Donovan and his new coaching staff in the Windy City, and LaVine looks to be an integral part of that process.

Next. 4 free agents that could improve the roster. dark

It would be very understandable if, by the time the trade deadline arrives and the Bulls are still well out of playoff contention, that LaVine might want out before too long. We’ll just have to see what happens in the next month or two with this rebuild.

Next up for LaVine and the Bulls is their first road game of the regular season to date, against the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital on Dec. 29 with tip off set for 6 p.m. CT.