With over half the incumbent roster without guaranteed deals for the 2023-24 season, it was always expected that the Chicago Bulls would experience a good deal of turnover this summer. What no one likely had on their offseason checklist, however, was the Bulls shopping their franchise cornerstone Zach LaVine on the trade block.
Per a new report from Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, LaVine’s days in Chicago could come to an end much sooner than expected. “It’s the Chicago Bulls who have started contacting teams,” said Fischer, “Quietly gauging the trade interest in Zach LaVine”.
Zach LaVine would be one of this summer’s hottest commodities if the Chicago Bulls decide to trade the All-Star guard.
If any of Chicago’s two All-Star talents was going to be traded this summer, most fans were under the assumption that it would be DeMar DeRozan, not LaVine. With DeMar on a team-friendly expiring deal, he would undoubtedly be seen as an attractive asset to plenty of contenders. Instead, this news contradicts the earlier reports that the front office wished to retool around Zach this summer. CHGO’s Will Gottlieb brings up this contradiction here, as the Bulls should be under no real pressure to move LaVine quickly.
If DeRozan is indeed dealt to a contender, it will likely be for a decent young player or two, with late first-round draft picks attached. LaVine, on the other hand, could likely fetch a much bigger return due to the fact he’s in the prime of his career and under long-term team control. Bulls fan and YouTube personality Ross Pins mentions the Trail Blazers as an interesting potential trade partner, as they are presumably shopping the No. 3 overall pick ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft.
If Zach is traded away, it will almost certainly be in return for young assets to rebuild for the future. This leaves little place on the roster for veterans like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Alex Caruso, who will each be more interested in competing for championships than mentoring the youth. Dealing these players away alongside LaVine could help Chicago make a massive turnaround quicker than expected, like we saw with Utah this past season.
At the end of the day, these rumors still feel very odd, considering the front office has preached on and on about continuity these past few years. LaVine was playing some of the best basketball of his career following the All-Star Break, and it’s not unreasonable to think the Bulls could contend again if they plugged the hole at point guard.
If the front office deems finding an adequate starting point guard an impossible challenge this summer, then doing something is probably the better option than simply running things back. Trading LaVine could help revitalize this team and set them back on the right path within the next two years, but it can’t be a decision made haphazardly. Zach has given too much for this team and city to be the sacrificial lamb for management’s shortcomings.