Zach LaVine gossip at Combine featured 4 NBA teams

Zach LaVine (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Reports and rumors surrounding Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine have been heating up in recent weeks, and four teams were specifically mentioned frequently during last week’s NBA Draft Combine.

Before the end of the season, the odds of the Bulls retaining their unrestricted free agent were very high. While they should still be considered favorites to sign him when all is said and done, recent reports suggest that scenario isn’t set in stone.

“His return to the Bulls no longer is considered the slam dunk it once was,” said Bulls insider K.C. Johnson in his column last Friday.

Amid LaVine’s comments a few weeks ago that he’d be entering free agency with an open mind, more teams are starting to see themselves as having a legitimate shot at the two-time All-Star, and it’s hard to blame them.

According to Johnson, league gossip at least week’s NBA Draft Combine linked LaVine to the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks, which just adds to the list of potential suitors with available max slots that include the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons.

A sign-and-trade would likely be needed for LaVine to head to any of the new teams mentioned besides Portland, who could free up the necessary money with low-leverage moves this summer.

No specifics were mentioned about these four teams, but one potential cause for the rumor about the Los Angeles Lakers could’ve been LaVar Ball’s comments last week. In an interview, he said LaVine was “gone” and is likely headed to Los Angeles, even though that would be hard to pull off logistically.

The Chicago Bulls are still favored to keep LaVine

As Johnson reports, Arturas Karsinovas and Michael Reinsdorf both seem inclined to give LaVine the max contract he’s expecting even though there’s speculation that suggests otherwise from rival executives.

In his free agency buzz column Tuesday morning, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer echoed the sentiment that the Bulls are still considered “likely to retain LaVine on the open market” but did suggest a swift extension is unlikely.

As the weeks go by, expect more developments surrounding interest in LaVine around the league, but it’ll come down to what he values the most when it’s time to put pen to paper.

Next. 3 Things Bulls learned from surprising season. dark