Zach LaVine addresses Bulls trade rumors with great response

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Over the past few seasons, very few players have had their names tossed around the trade rumor mill quite like Zach LaVine. Too good to tank and not good enough to contend, the Chicago Bulls have struggled to pick and commit to a direction since the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota in exchange for LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Kris Dunn back in 2017.

One thing’s for sure, the Bulls’ failures haven’t been for a lack of trying on Zach’s fault. In six seasons in Chicago, LaVine has averaged an impressive 24.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game and is responsible for an estimated 25.9 win shares.

In that span, he has achieved two All-Star nominations and has jumped to 8th place for most points scored in Bulls’ history. If he maintains this level of production and is relatively healthy next season, Zach will more than likely jump up to 4th place on this same list — behind only Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Bob Love.

Still, that hasn’t been enough to keep his name off the trade block, if the rumors are to be believed. Fortunately, LaVine gave about as optimistic of a response as we could hope for when discussing these rumors with NBC Sports.

"“I’ve been with the Bulls for seven years. I’ve had my name in trade talks. You don’t love it, but you understand the business. I’ve been traded before, so you understand it… I always rep my city whichever team I’m playing for to the best, and Chicago’s loved me and called me one of their own since I’ve been there. I don’t see anything happening anytime soon. But if it does, Chicago always has my love.”"

Zach LaVine’s response to his trade rumors should come as a relief to Bulls fans.

When Zach claims he doesn’t see anything happening anytime soon, I’m liable to agree with him. Not because of unfounded confidence in his own position with the franchise (like say, for example, Dillon Brooks in Memphis), but because everything we’ve seen from the front office thus far suggests they plan on putting the best team possible out there next season.

By trading for Nikola Vucevic (and subsequently re-signing him), refusing to trade DeMar DeRozan when his value was at its highest, and bringing in established veterans like Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter, it’s clear to me that Arturas Karnisovas wants to prioritize winning basketball games next season. Trading LaVine goes in direct contradiction to this philosophy, and thus I believe trading him away is an unlikely move, even if the front office is indeed testing the waters on his market value.

All this isn’t to say that Zach is immune to a potential trade. In fact, if the Bulls struggle out of the gate this season, I could certainly envision a scenario where Chicago initiates a firesale ahead of the trade deadline. With LaVine now on a supermax and DeRozan entering the final year of his contract, it’s time to be real with ourselves about this team if its not living up to its full potential.

Hopefully, things pan out well and we never even need to discuss potential trade partners down the line anyways. But if it doesn’t, at least  it seems the Bulls can part separate ways with one of their best players in the 21st century with no hard feelings to show for it.

Next. The Good, Bad, and Ugly from Summer League. dark