The Bulls explored Zach LaVine trades over the offseason, but they had a very high asking price — the fact that they’re open to moving him isn’t new. However, LaVine had always remained loyal to Chicago, and he’s now open to a trade himself — something he didn’t deny when asked about it this week.
According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, LaVine doesn’t think the Bulls will be able to turn into a contender in the East after being mired in mediocrity ever since Lonzo Ball injured his knee in January 2022. Multiple sources tell Fischer that LaVine would prefer to play under a new head coach as well, which aligns with recent reporting that the two-time All-Star may not be the biggest fan of Billy Donovan.
As Fischer observes, while LaVine is one of the most talented scorers in the league, there are reasons why other players on the roster could have more trade value. He’s not known for his defense, he’s in the second season of a five-year, maximum-salary contract, and he’s had multiple knee injuries in the past.
Still, there are plenty of teams interested in LaVine, according to Fischer, who says rival executives view the shooting guard as more of a complementary piece rather than a player to build around. A potential deal isn’t expected to come together in the near future, which is typical considering many players around the league aren’t eligible to be traded but will be in a month or two.
Sources tell Fischer that LaVine would like to play for a “winning franchise” and he has interest in the Lakers, Heat and Sixers, who were all previously identified as potential suitors. But there are questions about whether any of those teams will ultimately pursue him for various reasons, particularly Philadelphia, which prefers to add more of a two-way player.
That list is far from comprehensive, however. They aren’t a winner at the moment, but LaVine is interested in joining the Spurs and No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama — as Fischer writes, LaVine played under Gregg Popovich on Team USA in the 2020 Olympics, winning a gold medal with the Hall of Fame coach.
Sources tell Fischer that LaVine has interest in several other teams as well, including the Kings. LaVine signed an offer sheet with Sacramento as a restricted free agent back in 2018, though that was under a different front office regime, Fischer notes.
While recent reports have indicated that the 4-9 Bulls are unlikely to entertain a rebuild even if they continue to struggle, Fischer hears ownership has recently changed its stance and would be open to dealing additional veterans beyond LaVine. That could include DeMar DeRozan, who is on an expiring $28.6MM contract, and All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso.
If Caruso does become available, his market would be robust, according to Fischer, who writes that the Bulls have asked for multiple first-round picks in exchange for the 29-year-old in the past. Due to Caruso’s favorable contract (he’s owed $19.4MM over the next two seasons) and the winning plays he makes on the court, Fischer believes Chicago could indeed get a couple first-rounders for him.