Grade the trade: Bulls deal Zach LaVine to Knicks in surprise hypothetical

Zach LaVine, R.J. Barrett, Chicago Bulls (Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
Zach LaVine, R.J. Barrett, Chicago Bulls (Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine
Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine, Mitchell Robinson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Would the Chicago Bulls make this trade?

The Bulls have a tough decision to make here. If they believe R.J. Barrett still has room to grow and becomes an All-Star, this deal makes a lot of sense. Both players they are acquiring are locked in until at least 2026 and are valuable starters at minimum. Could Barrett average 25 points per game and improve his efficiency as he reaches his prime? It is possible, but no guarantee.

The Bulls have not won with Zach LaVine, so is it worth shaking things up? They could look to sign-and-trade Nikola Vucevic and deal away DeMar DeRozan to get a fresh start with Barrett leading their team. Chicago would spend a few years near the top of the lottery, but could quickly be back to where they are now.

This is why trading Zach LaVine is so difficult. The Chicago Bulls are never going to get the perfect offer, so they will have to choose the best one and make other moves to retool their roster.

Grade: C+

The return may not look like enough to Bulls fans, but Barrett and Robinson are both young and on affordable contracts. Chicago also picks up a first-round pick and the freedom to reset and go in a different direction after making the playoffs just once in six years with Zach LaVine. It is certainly something to consider, but the Bulls can do better.