Central Notes: Bulls, LaVine, Lakers, Cunningham, Cavs, Walker

While Zach LaVine has been mentioned in several rumors this fall after it was reported that both he and the Bulls are increasingly open to exploring a trade, the two-time All-Star isn’t one of the two players on Chicago’s roster that rival teams have shown the most interest in thus far, reports Marc Stein at Substack. Six-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan and two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic aren’t on the list either.

All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso is the Bulls player opposing teams are most intrigued by, per Stein, followed by forward Patrick Williams.

As Stein writes, the Bulls haven’t made Caruso available, but he would have a “double-digit list of suitors” if that were to happen. As for Williams, who was the No. 4 overall pick in 2020, Stein says rivals still find him intriguing despite a very poor start to the season. Williams is set to hit restricted free agency in 2024.

In the same article, Stein says he’s heard the Lakers‘ rumored interest in LaVine is “best described (at most)” as to be determined. According to Stein, L.A. hopes that Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) and Gabe Vincent (knee) will provide a “meaningful boost” once they return from their respective injuries.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • As a former No. 1 overall pick who was the top recruit in his high school class, plenty of hype has followed Cade Cunningham. But advanced stats are extremely low on the third-year Pistons guard, according to Zach Kram of The Ringer, who writes that Cunningham has trouble scoring efficiently from all over the court. Kram takes an in-depth look at Cunningham’s game and his advanced metrics, suggesting that he might be more of a No. 2 offensive option on a good team rather than the No. 1 option he’s been made out to be.
  • The Cavaliers had perhaps their best win of the season on Sunday, defeating the defending-champion nuggets without Donovan Mitchell (hamstring) and Caris LeVert (knee). However, the victory didn’t answer the two biggest questions facing the franchise, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic: Has Cleveland has improved enough to advance past the first round of the playoffs? And is Mitchell “happy enough” to sign an extension next year to stay long term?
  • Jarace Walker, the No. 8 overall pick in June’s draft, has only played 41 total minutes over four games for the Pacers to this point, mostly in garbage time. Head coach Rick Carlisle has told the young forward to stay ready, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “This is what being a professional is all about,” Carlisle said. “He’s probably always played at every level he’s played at from middle school to high school to college, AAU, you name it, but given the present circumstance, you gotta be a pro and work at your craft and you gotta be ready. I talked to him two days ago and let him know. I said, ‘I don’t know when it’s gonna happen but your time is coming. That’s how it works in this league.'”
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