2. Zach LaVine takes his talents to South Beach
In this trade, the Chicago Bulls receive a ton of assets for their top player, Zach LaVine. The trade would make Tyler Herro the player that the Chicago Bulls would likely build around in the future. Herro is just 23 years old but just finished his second straight season averaging 20+ points per game, this time doing it in Miami’s starting lineup. He won 6th Man of the Year in the 2021-22 season averaging 20.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and followed that up this year with similar averages of 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists.
The Kentucky product has established himself as a tremendous shooter, hitting 38.7% of his threes over the last two years while taking 7.3 shots from deep per game. These numbers are very similar to that of LaVine, which is a good sign when considering Herro as the main piece of the puzzle. The guard has shown tremendous promise, and is already becoming a top player in the league because of this scoring ability.
Another interesting piece that is included in this trade is Nikola Jovic. At just 19 years old, Jovic played 15 games in his rookie season, averaging 5.5 points per game. The forward stands 6-foot-10 and is largely unproven so far in his NBA career, which makes him a gamble. However, he has already played professional basketball at a young age with the Serbian team Mega Basket, where he was teammates with Marko Simonovic. The main positive when watching him is the fact that he can score at all three levels and has a tremendous offensive game. Here are some of his highlights from the U19 World Cup:
Jovic has shown that he is a good scorer, slasher, and has tremendous size for a combo forward, which means that he is able to bring rebounding and size to the Chicago Bulls. He has plenty of room for development on the defensive end, as he is still struggling with his on-ball defending. One key note is that he still is young and has not fully used his size to his advantage on defense, which is something that the Bulls may be able to leverage with time. However, he will be a developmental story and likely will not fully reach his potential for several years.
The other player that is named in this trade is Duncan Robinson, who has rapidly declined since his solid 2019-20 season. In that year, Robinson was one of the best shooters in the league, making 44.6% of his 8.3 three pointers per game. On the heels of that season, Robinson signed a 5-year, $90 million contract with the Heat, which was the highest ever for an undrafted player. This is now being regarded as one of the worst contracts in the league, as his numbers have gone down so much that he averaged 6.4 PPG in just 42 games this season.
This fall from grace is due to a decline in three-point shooting numbers as well as the fact that he is a complete liability on the defensive end. His value is clear, he is a three-point shooter who brings value similar to Kyle Korver, and if his shot is not falling, he is not a viable NBA player. However, if games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals have shown anything, Robinson may be rediscovering his shot. In those two games, Robinson scored 15 and 22 points, respectively, while shooting 65% from the field, 61.5% from three, and dishing out 5 total assists.
He showed development in his game, but his inconsistency leaves him to be a huge question mark for the Bulls if they were to acquire him. However, it may be worth it to take on his bad contract if they are able to get better pieces and some excellent shooters, which they desperately need.
The addition of two first-round picks in the trade is compensation for Duncan Robinson’s contract, which could add solid assets to the Bulls’ arsenal. Considering the Heat’s trajectory, especially if they get Zach LaVine, these picks will likely not be in the lottery. However, they provide the Bulls with capital to make trades that move the needle, and allow them to potentially find good, young prospects. If the Bulls can start accumulating these picks, they could set themselves up for a strong future.
While this is true, they would be giving up their best player in Zach LaVine. This is a huge price to pay for the Bulls, as they are not getting a guaranteed All-Star in return and have some questions surrounding Jovic and Robinson. However, if the Bulls choose to truly blow it up and rebuild, it would be interesting to consider this trade. They would need to add some good defenders, as nobody in this trade is a positive on that side of the ball.