Eastern Rumors: LaVine, Bulls, Raptors, Pacers, Sixers

It has been difficult to sift through the noise in the rumor mill to determine which teams might actually be legitimate suitors for Zach LaVine, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who notes that while the Sixers and Lakers have frequently been mentioned as possibilities, their level of interest in the Bulls guard is unclear.

Teams like the 76ers, Knicks, and Heat haven’t seriously engaged or shown real interest in LaVine, says K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that the Lakers are believed to be LaVine’s preference in the event of a trade, but we don’t have a sense of whether that interest is reciprocated.

As Fischer writes – and as Cowley previously suggested – if the Bulls are going to move LaVine, they’d ideally like to do it well in advance of February’s deadline in order to give them time to evaluate their new-look roster before deciding on whether or not to trade more players, such as DeMar DeRozan or Alex Caruso.

However, LaVine’s injury history was already considered a red flag for potential suitors, and the fact that he’s currently on the shelf due to a foot issue only lends credence to that concern, Fischer notes. On top of that, the Bulls’ asking price is believed to be high, consisting of an established starter, a young player with upside, and first-round draft capital, sources tell Fischer. It remains to be seen whether any team is willing to put a package like that on the table.

According to Fischer, the Bulls have also explored the possibility of trying to move LaVine in a deal for another All-Star level player. They attempted to pitch the Cavaliers on a swap that would have sent point guard Darius Garland to Chicago, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Presumably, Cleveland didn’t have much interest in that concept.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Eastern Conference, courtesy of Fischer:

  • Given that the 2024 draft class is considered relatively weak, there’s a sense that teams in search of roster upgrades might be more inclined to move their ’24 first-round picks in trades this season, but there’s not yet a long list of sellers. According to Fischer, league personnel believe the Raptors will be more inclined to join that group of sellers this winter than they have been in past years, after they saw Fred VanVleet walk in free agency over the summer. “Toronto’s going to be forced to make a decision,” one GM said to Yahoo Sports.
  • Pascal Siakam is considered the more likely trade candidate than Raptors teammate OG Anunoby, but a couple of the clubs believed to have interest in Siakam – the Pacers and Kings – seem “more vested” in the idea of landing Anunoby, Fischer writes.
  • Speaking of the Pacers, rival executives think they’ll be aggressive in exploring ceiling-raising trades that would consolidate some of their depth pieces, though Fischer is unconvinced the team is prepared to do anything substantial quite yet. Veteran backup point guard T.J. McConnell continues to draw interest from playoff teams seeking backcourt help, Fischer adds.
  • The Sixers aren’t expected to pursue any major roster changes until much closer to February’s trade deadline, according to Fischer.
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