Two-time All-Star Zach LaVine is no longer considered a lock to return to the Bulls, with “league gossip” linking him to rival teams, as reported by K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago a couple of weeks ago. With that in mind, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype explores four potential teams who might pursue the 27-year-old in unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Lakers would obviously have interest, but acquiring LaVine would be complicated because it would require moving Russell Westbrook first, or him to be involved in a sign-and-trade. They’d also be hard-capped at that point and only able to sign minimum-salaried players to fill out the rest of the roster, per HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan.
Lavine makes sense as a fit next to Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, according to Urbina, and Detroit has the ability to create enough cap space to sign him outright. However, after reaching the postseason for the first time in his career in 2021/22, I’m skeptical LaVine would be interested in joining a rebuilding club.
The Heat and Hawks are two other sign-and-trade possibilities, but Urbina notes that HoopsHype and other publications still believe LaVine returning to Chicago is the most likely outcome, as the Bulls can re-sign LaVine for up to $212.3MM over five years, while rival teams will be limited to four years at $157.4MM.
Here’s more on the Bulls:
- Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic lists 10 offseason questions looming over Chicago this summer. Mayberry wonders how the Bulls can go from good to great, whether they’ll be able to re-sign LaVine, where things stand with Lonzo Ball‘s balky knee, how to improve the team’s depth, and whether or not it’s the right time to deal away guard Coby White (who’s eligible for a rookie scale extension on July 1), among several other questions.
- The Bulls worked out former Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell on Wednesday, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago relays (via Twitter). The Bulls control the No. 18 pick and Liddell is currently No. 20 on ESPN’s big board, so he could be a realistic target at that spot. Liddell had an impressive junior season for the Buckeyes, averaging 19.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 2.6 BPG on .490/.374/.765 shooting in 32 games (33.2 MPG).
- Memphis forward Josh Minott will also work out for Chicago on Thursday, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Minott is currently No. 48 on ESPN’s board and averaged 6.6 PPG and 3.8 RPG in a limited role as a freshman (33 games, 14.6 MPG).