Latest On Zach LaVine

The right ankle sprain that has sidelined Zach LaVine since January 18 is expected to keep the Bulls star on the shelf for at least a few more games, according to head coach Billy Donovan, who said on Thursday that LaVine will likely be reevaluated in a week or so (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago).

Asked whether LaVine will be out through the February 8 trade deadline and whether it’s possible he has played his last game as a Bull, Donovan couldn’t offer any guarantees either way.

“I have no idea. I really don’t,” Donovan said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “There’s been nothing that I’ve had communicated as it leads into this trade deadline where it’s been, ‘Hey, he’s staying here’ [or] ‘We’re moving him.’ There’s been nothing like that. I’d hate to even speculate.

“I’ve always taken the approach that this is our team — taken the approach that he’s going to be with us the whole entire year, and I hope he can get healthy. . . . I go into it [believing] he’s going to be here for the rest of the season. That’s how I view it.”

While LaVine has been mentioned as a trade candidate for much of the season, reports have indicated that there hasn’t been any real market for him so far due to his oversized contract, his injury history, and his dip in production this season.

A report on Thursday suggested that the Pistons and Bulls have discussed LaVine, but Cowley and Johnson hear that those talks didn’t get serious. In fact, while the Bulls have had conversations with multiple teams about what it would take for them to trade LaVine, per Johnson, it doesn’t sound as if any of those discussions have moved beyond the exploratory stage.

While league-wide interest in LaVine could certainly increase if Chicago lowers its asking price, that hasn’t happened so far, according to Johnson, who says the team continues to seek a “strong return” for the two-time All-Star and isn’t looking to move him in order to cut costs or in an “addition by subtraction”-type move.

The Bulls, who got off to a 5-14 start this season, looked at one point like a candidate to hold a fire sale, but they’ve righted the ship since by going 16-11 since that poor start. With no market developing for LaVine, no indication Chicago wants to discuss Alex Caruso, and no recent rumors surrounding DeMar DeRozan, it’s unclear how active the club will actually be on the trade market in the next couple weeks.

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