Bulls guard Zach LaVine drawing trade interest from surprising team

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets
Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

As if it wasn't difficult enough watching the Chicago Bulls struggle out of the gate, their failure to win games has negatively impacted the morale of this roster and seems to have expedited this team's inevitable rebuild. For the first time in his seven years spent in Chicago, Zach LaVine's name on the rumor mill appears to be a real sign of things to come rather than unfounded speculation.

Obtained all the way back in 2016 via the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves, LaVine has done an impeccable job improving his all-around game and increasing his trade value. Zach has built a bonafide All-Star pedigree, averaging 25.1 points and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 47.7% from the field across his last five seasons with the Bulls.

This year, however, LaVine has taken a step back in the wrong direction. This team's stagnation appears to have negatively impacted Zach, averaging just 21.3 points and 3.3 assists per game while shooting 43.1% from the field this season. He simply hasn't been the leader Chicago has needed, playing a big role in this team's underachieving ways.

If the Bulls do finally pull the trigger and trade LaVine to initiate a true rebuild, the same likely contenders we always hear about are expected to get involved. That means the Lakers, Knicks, Heat, and 76ers will likely at least have exploratory talks with the Bulls front office. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised to see a dark horse emerge from the pack to land LaVine. Say perhaps, the Charlotte Hornets?

The team with the best offer for Zach LaVine just might be an unsuspecting trade partner in the Charlotte Hornets.

Per Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, Charlotte has emerged as a very real suitor for LaVine if the Bulls decide to move on. The Hornets possess one of the NBA's most electric offenses and would be quite the entertaining watch with LaVine on their roster. LaMelo Ball's elite playmaking ability already made the Hornets must-watch television, but the return of Miles Bridges and Charlotte's exciting young draft picks Mark Williams and Brandon Miller have truly elevated this team's entertainment factor.

It's difficult to predict just what type of offer Charlotte would bring to the table, but they certainly have enough assets to get the conversation started. Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, and PJ Washington are each quality players in their own right with hefty contracts to help match LaVine's colossal $40 million salary. The Hornets also have several interesting prospects and own each of their future first-round draft picks past 2024 to help facilitate this deal.

This trade might seem like a redundant move by the Hornets, due to the sheer amount of offensive weapons they currently have on the roster. That being said, I believe it could be a wiser move than anyone's willing to give them credit for. The Hornets ranked dead-last in offensive rating across the league last season, and could definitely benefit from getting the ball out of the hands of players like Rozier and Kelly Oubre (last season) and into the hands of a hyper-efficient scoring machine like LaVine.

As they say, the best defense is a great offense. A team comprised of Ball, LaVine, Bridges, Miller, Williams, and whichever of their veterans they keep around (Hayward, Rozier, Washington) is one that could compete right from the jump and still have enough potential to develop into an even more formidable roster down the road.

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