Even after signing a five-year, $215.16 million contract extension last summer, Zach LaVine has seen his future with the Chicago Bulls called into question.
Chicago is coming off a disappointing 2022-23 season that ended in the NBA Play-In Tournament. Much more was expected of the core duo of LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
This has now led to Chicago gauging interest and contacting other teams about a potential LaVine trade.
“Wishful executives will keep their eyes peeled on Portland and Damian Lillard, but it’s the Chicago Bulls who have started contacting teams, quietly gauging the trade interest in Zach LaVine,” Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday.
Fischer goes on to note that Chicago can expect a return that will exceed what the Washington Wizards end up receiving for Bradley Beal should they trade the fellow All-Star. Recent indications are that Washington is willing to work with Beal, who has a no-trade clause, on a deal to another team.
As for LaVine, the 28-year-old wing has morphed into a true star since he was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the package that sent Jimmy Butler out west back in 2017.
- Zach LaVine stats (2022-23): 24.8 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.2 APG, 49% shooting, 38% 3-point
LaVine is no longer just the pure athlete many viewed him as when he entered the league as the No. 13 pick back in 2014 out of UCLA. He’s highly regarded around the NBA. And if the Bulls are intent on trading the veteran, interest isn’t going to be limited.
Zach LaVine trade market heading into the NBA Draft
Engaging in trade talks surrounding LaVine seems to suggest that Chicago is seriously considering a rebuild. DeRozan has just one more year left on his contract. Star big man Nikola Vucevic is slated to hit the unrestricted NBA free agent market. Meanwhile, guard Lonzo Ball might never play again after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
What does this mean? By putting feelers out there on LaVine, the Bulls might be looking to get something done during the 2023 NBA Draft a week from Thursday. That is to say, acquire draft capital the team just doesn’t have. Remember, its first-round pick this year is in the hands of the Orlando Magic stemming from the trade for the aforementioned Vucevic years back.
Unlike Bradley Beal’s monstrosity of a contract ($196.7 million over the next four seasons), LaVine’s deal is a bit more team friendly.
- Zach LaVine contract: $40.06 million in 2023-24; $43.03 million in 2024-25
Overall, Lavine is set to earn just north of $129 million over the next three seasons. He has a player option valued at $48.97 million for 2026-27. It’s certainly doable for contending teams.
The likes of the New York Knicks (several future first-round picks and youngsters) as well as the Houston Rockets (looking to build a contender) could make sense.
But again, the market is not going to be limited. We can envision a scenario in which Western Conference contenders such as the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks get involved. It’s going to be all about the price point.