Zach LaVine

Lakers Rumors: LeBron, Knicks, Bronny, Murray, LaVine, More

At the end of last month, Lakers forward LeBron James sent out an hourglass emoji on social media that led to plenty of speculation — and eventually an unsuccessful trade pursuit by the Warriors. Later that week in New York, James made some not-so-subtle comments about his love for playing in Madison Square Garden and said he considered signing with the Knicks as a free agent in 2010.

While James may have been attempting to put pressure on L.A.’s front office by using New York as leverage, the Knicks haven’t had any internal discussions about pursuing him this summer, a league source tells Sam Amick, Anthony Slater and Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

As The Athletic’s authors explain, the Knicks won’t have cap room in free agency to make a run at James if he declines his $51.4MM player option, and shedding salaries would mean parting with important rotation players. The Knicks view that possibility as a “serious setback to their long-term plan.”

Los Angeles, meanwhile, has no desire to trade James, and wants him to retire a Laker, multiple team sources tell The Athletic. For his part, James recently informed the team’s brass he wants to stay, per The Athletic’s report.

Here’s more on the Lakers, all from Amick, Slater and Buha:

  • Rival executives have become “increasingly convinced” that the 39-year-old superstar may want out of L.A., and view drafting his son Bronny James as something of a starting point to pursuing LeBron, according to The Athletic’s trio. James has spoken many times over the years about his desire to play in the NBA with his son. The Lakers are also open to the possibility of adding Bronny to keep LeBron happy, as that’s a priority for the organization, a high-ranking team source tells the authors.
  • According to The Athletic, James has long been in favor of adding a star-level ball-handler in the backcourt — hence 2021 trade for Russell Westbrook, which obviously worked out poorly. James pushed the front office to pursue Kyrie Irving over multiple transaction windows in the past, and supported the idea of trading for Dejounte Murray (Hawks) or Zach LaVine (Bulls) — two fellow Klutch clients — prior to this season’s deadline, sources tell Amick, Slater and Buha.
  • The Lakers will have three first-round picks available to trade this summer after standing pat at the deadline — either 2024 or 2025 (New Orleans can acquire this year’s pick or defer it to next year), plus 2029 and 2031. As Buha previously reported, L.A. would ideally like to use those draft assets for Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers), Trae Young (Hawks) or Irving (Mavericks), though it’s unclear how many of those players – if any – will actually be available on the trade market this offseason. For what it’s worth, rival teams have been speculating that Atlanta might be willing to part with Young after holding onto Murray at the deadline.

Bulls Notes: Deadline Talks, DeRozan, Caruso, LaVine

The Bulls sat out the trade deadline for the third straight season, NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson observes. The Bulls spent months working on a potential Zach LaVine trade but after his season-ending injury, they began to weigh other options. The team fielded offers for Alex Caruso and Andre Drummond and had “cursory conversations” regarding DeRozan, maintaining they stayed active despite not making a move.

We didn’t see anything that was going to make us better. We would take a step back, which we don’t want. We want to stay competitive,” general manager Artūras Karnišovas said. “We have an obligation to this organization and this fan base and this city to stay competitive and compete for the playoffs. That’s what we’re doing.

The Warriors engaged the Bulls on talks with Caruso but in any potential deal, Chicago seemed to covet Jonathan Kuminga. When that offer was rebuffed, the Bulls told teams they didn’t want to trade Caruso, especially for a package of other young pieces like Moses Moody, according to Johnson. They would have had to be floored by an offer to move Caruso.

Drummond drew interest too, but the Bulls expressed to other teams they wished to remain competitive and potential landing spots like the Sixers and Mavericks sent their second-round draft capital elsewhere.

While there was some internal discussion about selling off pieces and reshaping the roster, upper management pushed those decisions to the offseason, Johnson writes. In the summer, it’s likely the Bulls will discuss LaVine trades again while they face decisions on the contract statuses of DeRozan and Patrick Williams. The Bulls have one open roster spot and are under the luxury tax, so they could be in the market for buyout players. We addressed Chicago’s potential interest in Joe Harris earlier Thursday.

We have more notes on the Bulls:

  • There was no significant offer out there for DeMar DeRozan, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, appearing on The Rally (Twitter link). There were a few interested teams but uncertainty regarding whether DeRozan would re-sign when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason was an inhibiting factor in getting a deal done. According to Charania, the Bulls want to keep DeRozan “long term.”
  • Charania echoed Johnson and said the Bulls had a “very high price” on Caruso, which other teams weren’t willing to meet. Charania says Chicago feels like keeping this core together is its best path forward.
  • DeRozan expressed a desire to remain with the Bulls on Thursday, according to Johnson. “It’s kind of like with your spouse. It’s a relationship. It’s like, ‘What do we need to do to work on this, baby?’” DeRozan said, smiling. “‘Let’s figure this thing out. You want me. I want you.’ The love is there.” Karnišovas expressed a similar sentiment, Johnson tweets. “I love DeMar,” Karnišovas said. “He’s huge for this team, this city, this organization.
  • LaVine underwent right foot surgery on Thursday, according to Johnson. He was previously ruled out for the rest of the season. “We’re going to miss him,” Karnišovas said. “But we’ll see him soon and wish him well his recovery.” The original recovery timeline was four-to-six months, but according to Johnson, he could be back to basketball activities in closer to three months. He would still miss the rest of the season but could begin his typical offseason work.
  • The bigger question regarding LaVine is his future with the organization, Johnson writes. As mentioned, the team held trade talks regarding him last offseason and before the deadline. However, Johnson’s source close to LaVine emphasizes he never specifically asked to be traded. “I don’t have any concerns,” Karnišovas said on whether he worried if failing to find a trade would impact the relationship between the two sides. “I think Zach wants to win. Bottom line, we’re a better team with Zach on the team. It’s as simple as that.

Eastern Rumors: Cavs, LaVine, Bulls, Celtics, Grimes

A source with knowledge of the Cavaliers‘ plans told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic on Monday night that the club is unlikely to be active at this week’s trade deadline.

That wouldn’t be a bad thing, according to Lloyd, who notes that Cleveland’s front office could turn to the buyout market in search of a depth addition later this month. The Cavs, who have moved into possession of the No. 2 seed in the East, have been one of the NBA’s hottest teams over the last two months, winning 19 of their past 23 games, including 14 of their past 15.

Here are a few more items from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls could technically still trade Zach LaVine this week despite his season-ending foot injury, but teams with interest will almost certainly prefer to wait until at least this summer to see how that foot is healing, per Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks of ESPN. “We have red-flagged him until he gets back on the court,” one rival executive told ESPN.
  • A handful of Bulls veterans, including Nikola Vucevic, have expressed a desire for the team to roll with the pieces it has rather than buying or selling at the deadline, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “Those are things that are out of my control. We feel we have enough,” Vucevic said, adding that he likes it in Chicago and doesn’t want to go anywhere. “We have a lot of stuff we can do better on the court. We’ve also had some stuff, like injuries, that’s unfortunate to deal with. But I believe we have enough.”
  • Steve Bulpett of takes a look at how Boston will approach Thursday’s deadline, citing one source who thinks the Celtics should be careful not to “mess up what they have” and one rival executive who says the C’s aren’t being especially aggressive on the trade market. “They’re open to talking, but there’s no urgency there,” the exec said.
  • Given the injury bug that has plagued the team recently, the odds of the Knicks hanging onto Quentin Grimes through the trade deadline have increased, a source familiar with the situation tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Post (subscription required). If Grimes remains on the roster for the rest of this season, he could be a trade candidate again in the summer, when he’ll be extension-eligible.

Multiple Factors Slowing Down NBA Trade Market

The rumor mill was relatively quiet at the start of NBA trade deadline week on Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who suggested to colleague Bobby Marks in the latest Woj Pod podcast that teams are a bit underwhelmed by what’s available on the market.

“There’s a bit of a logjam. There’s a bit of a sense of, I would almost say, ‘Is this all there is?'” Wojnarowski said. “I think a lot of GMs who want to get better – some have the assets to do it, some don’t necessarily have as many – are looking around going, ‘I just don’t see many guys out here who move the needle for us.'”

Wojnarowski still expects a busy deadline day on Thursday, perhaps with two or three trades completed on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, he’s not convinced that many of the deals made this week will involve difference-making players, noting that there haven’t been many recent conversations about presumed trade candidates such as Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma, and Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic.

“I think we’re going to have trades and pieces are going to move around,” Woj said. “… We may see a lot of player number seven through 11, seven through 12 on rosters, second-round picks, a lot of those changing hands over the next 72 hours.”

Of course, a handful of major trades have been made since the 2023/24 season began, with players like James Harden, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam on the move. Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday were traded just ahead of training camp. In addition to the fact that some of this season’s top trade candidates have already been dealt, there are several other factors contributing to the slow development of the trade market.

One of those factors, according to Wojnarowski, is the continued impact of the play-in tournament, which has given teams more avenues to qualify for the postseason and has created more buyers than sellers during the season. Of the few sellers, some have set very high asking prices for their players, particularly the ones on multiyear deals. Meanwhile, many prospective buyers don’t have the assets or the flexibility to make significant deals, with three-quarters of the tradable future first-round picks controlled by just 11 teams.

A belief that the 2024 draft class is weaker than average may also slow down the trade market. “Nobody’s excited” about this year’s draft, according to Wojnarowski, so a team may be less inclined to move a useful veteran if the return package is headlined by a ’24 draft pick.

The new rules introduced in the league’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement are another wild card in play as teams seek potential deals. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the more strict salary-matching rules for teams above either tax apron appear to be creating challenges for some front offices — those teams aren’t permitted to take back more than 110% of the salaries they send out in a trade. Under the previous CBA, it was 125%.

As previously noted, several of this season’s bigger-name trade candidates are also under contract for multiple seasons, affording sellers the opportunity to be patient if they don’t get offers they like this week. Fischer points to Atlanta and Dejounte Murray as one example, suggesting the Hawks could be in a better position this offseason to land the type of first-round compensation they’re seeking for Murray, since more teams will be able to move more picks at that time. The Lakers, for instance, could move up to three future first-rounders this summer, but can only trade one this week.

The more punitive restrictions facing tax apron teams after the end of this season has also made certain clubs hesitant to take on sizable long-term contracts or to trade for a third player on a maximum-salary deal, especially if that player isn’t an All-NBA caliber talent, per Tim Bontemps and Marks at That’s one reason why interest in Bulls guard Zach LaVine was so tepid even before the team announced he’d be undergoing season-ending foot surgery.

With over 48 hours to go until Thursday’s 2 pm CT deadline, there’s still time for the trade market to roar to life, but it certainly doesn’t sound like we should expect a repeat of 2023’s deadline, when stars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving changed teams.

Trade Rumors: Wiggins, Pacers, Brogdon, Lakers, More

While the 21-25 Warriors have had a disappointing season to this point and are once again projected to have a record-setting payroll and luxury tax bill, ownership hasn’t given a mandate for the front office to do anything but try to improve the roster, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says Golden State won’t be looking to simply offload the large salaries of players like Andrew Wiggins or Chris Paul.

Charania includes Klay Thompson in that group as well, though ESPN’s Brian Windhorst previously stated the Warriors aren’t interested in moving Thompson.

Charania confirms the Mavericks are interested in Wiggins, and adds the Pacers to the list of teams intrigued by the former No. 1 overall pick. Any deal sending Wiggins to Indiana would likely have to include Buddy Hield for salary-matching purposes, though that’s just an observation, not reporting.

According to Charania, unless the Warriors are blown away by an offer, they’re unlikely to trade any of those three veterans, particularly with their values at low points for various reasons. To this point, Charania says Golden State hasn’t received an offer that “moves the needle.”

Here are some more trade rumors from around the NBA, all courtesy of Marc Stein at Substack:

  • Once viewed as a strong trade candidate, Trail Blazers guard Malcolm Brogdon may have swung in the opposite direction. He has publicly said he’s happy in Portland and would prefer to stay, with Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports later reporting there was skepticism Brogdon would be moved. According to Stein, there have been “recent rumblings” that Brogdon is actually hoping to sign an extension with the Blazers. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is not eligible for an in-season extension, but will become extension-eligible during the 2024 offseason, when he will make $22.5MM in the final year of his deal. Given Portland’s place in the standings and the presence of Anfernee Simons and Scoot Henderson, Stein wonders whether the Blazers will actually consider an extension for a 31-year-old veteran like Brogdon, but says the idea of a “longer stay than anticipated” has “gained credence.”
  • Given their limited asset pool — they can only trade one future first-round pick right now — the Lakers appear more likely to make a minor trade than a major one, Stein says. They continue to be linked to the RaptorsBruce Brown, but Jarred Vanderbilt‘s injury weakened the roster, and Stein suggests Los Angeles may not see a major difference-makers in the market, particularly for what it can offer. Waiting until the offseason would free up more options, as the Lakers could then trade as many as three first-round picks.
  • According to Stein, Bulls guard Zach LaVine (foot surgery), Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant, and the CavaliersDonovan Mitchell and Jarrett Allen are among the “marquee players” who won’t be moved this season. Dejounte Murray and Kyle Kuzma are “two of the most coveted players” ahead of the February 8 deadline, but because they’re on long-term contracts, the Hawks and Wizards, respectively, might need to be patient to receive the assets they want in return, as first-round picks are hard to come by at the moment, per Stein.

Pistons Rumors: Harris, LaVine, Morris, Bogdanovic, Burks

With Zach LaVine out for the season, Sixers forward Tobias Harris may be the Pistons‘ top trade target, James L. Edwards of The Athletic writes in an overview of the team’s options ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Edwards has stated since December that the Pistons have interest in Harris, who spent time in Detroit early in his career and has connections with members of the front office and coaching staff.

Harris has been a reliable scorer throughout his career and is averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season while shooting 51.2% from the field and 34.4% from three-point range. The 31-year-old can handle either forward spot and would give the Pistons a frontcourt weapon to team with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

Edwards cautions that Detroit might not be overly aggressive in pursuing Harris this week because of his upcoming free agent status. The front office may be reluctant to part with a significant asset when it will have plenty of cap room to sign him this summer.

Edwards has more on the Pistons:

  • Detroit seems to have paused trade talks regarding LaVine, but Edwards isn’t certain that the team was ever very committed to acquiring him. While he reports there were “many discussions” between the Bulls and Pistons in recent weeks, sources in the organization tell Edwards that Detroit would have only gotten serious about such a move if Chicago was willing to attach other assets like draft compensation or another player such as Patrick Williams. Edwards also speculates that the Pistons may have been willing to take on LaVine’s contract if the Bulls would have accepted expiring deals in return, but he’s not certain of that. Chicago was asking for Bojan Bogdanovic and another young player, according to Edwards, who doesn’t believe Detroit would have ever agreed to that price.
  • League sources tell Edwards that numerous teams have inquired about Monte Morris. He cites the Timberwolves as one of the most interested parties, noting that they tried to deal for the veteran guard when he was still with Washington. Morris recently returned after being sidelined by injuries for the season’s first 43 games, and Edwards suggests that Detroit might prefer to hang onto him.
  • Edwards hears that rival teams have “strong interest” in Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, but the Pistons are leaning toward keeping both players unless the current offers improve.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Trade Talks, Ball, Craig

Zach LaVine and the Bulls explored several options before the decision was made to have surgery to relieve the pain in his right foot, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The team announced earlier today that LaVine has opted for a surgical procedure with a projected recovery time of four-to-six months, which should have him ready well before the start of training camp.

“Everybody’s been in lockstep,” coach Billy Donovan told reporters before tonight’s game. “It wasn’t necessarily an organizational decision of, ‘Hey, listen, he needs to do surgery.’ It was, like, ‘Listen, this is still a problem. We need to start talking to other people as well to try to get different opinions.’”

LaVine missed 17 games earlier in the season because of discomfort in his foot. He was able to return and play seven games last month before suffering a sprained right ankle. That injury has healed, but LaVine is once again being bothered by foot pain. Donovan expressed empathy for his star guard, saying he hates being sidelined with injuries.

“Personally, I feel bad for him,” Donovan added. “I know how bad he wants to play and how badly he wants to be out there. When he can’t be out there, it just bothers him. He just wants to play.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • The Bulls’ most recent trade discussions with the Pistons regarding LaVine focused on Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Harris, league sources tell K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The sources weren’t certain if there were draft picks involved from either team. Johnson also speculates on whether LaVine’s surgery will affect the front office’s desire to hold onto DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso through the trade deadline in hopes of chasing a spot in the postseason. Johnson identifies the Warriors as one of several teams that have inquired about Caruso.
  • Lonzo Ball provided an update on his condition during an appearance on the NBC Sports Chicago telecast of Friday’s game, Johnson relays in a separate story. Ball, who has been sidelined for more than two full years and has undergone three knee surgeries, said he’s trying to stay positive and appreciate little signs of progress. “Definitely doing much better in rehab,” he said. “It’s been a long process, obviously, longer than I’d like it to be. It’s definitely cut out in stages and I keep checking off the boxes I’m supposed to and getting better each week.”
  • Torrey Craig returned tonight after missing the last 22 games due to right plantar fascia, Johnson tweets.

Zach LaVine To Undergo Season-Ending Foot Surgery

Zach LaVine has opted to undergo surgery on his right foot and will miss the remainder of the season, the Bulls announced in a press release.

The decision to have surgery was made in consultation with the team’s medical and training staff as well as LaVine’s representatives at Klutch Sports Group. The operation will take place this week, and LaVine is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six months, according to the Bulls.

The 28-year-old guard was limited to 25 games this season due to lingering pain in the foot, along with a sprained right ankle. He hasn’t played since January 18.

The surgery should halt any immediate trade speculation involving LaVine, who has reportedly been on the market since mid-November. His injury issues have limited interest around the league, along with a pricey contract that will pay him $138MM over the next three seasons if he exercises a $49MM player option for 2026/27.

The Lakers were originally reported to have the most interest in LaVine, and the Pistons have been mentioned more prominently in recent weeks. However, any teams planning to make an offer for LaVine will likely wait until at least the offseason.

This marks the fewest games for LaVine in one season since he appeared in 24 during 2017/18 — his first season in Chicago — when he was recovering from a torn ACL. The two-time All-Star saw his scoring average drop to 19.5 PPG this year while shooting 45.2% from the field and 34.9% from three-point range.

Zach LaVine To Remain Sidelined Through Trade Deadline

Bulls guard Zach LaVine won’t be back on the court before next Thursday’s trade deadline.

Speaking today to reporters, including K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link), head coach Billy Donovan said that LaVine’s right ankle sprain has healed, but he’s still feeling discomfort in his right foot and will require at least one more week of rest.

The star guard has missed the Bulls’ past six contests after being sidelined for 17 games earlier this season due to a right foot issue.

“It bugs you, a bony, prominent area,” LaVine said back in December about his foot pain, per Johnson (Twittter link). “You really don’t want to start messing around with that, that fifth metatarsal area and it gets more and more irritated. It’s just smart to calm it down now to where I can get back to 100% and hopefully finish the season strong and help everybody out.”

LaVine will likely require a ramp-up period to get back in game shape even if his foot is feeling better in a week, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s held out through the All-Star break. The Bulls’ last game prior to All-Star weekend is on February 14 in Cleveland.

Of course, it’s possible that LaVine has played his last game as a Bull and will be on a new team by the time he’s ready to return, given that he has been involved in trade rumors all season. However, his value was already down this season due to his dip in production, his maximum-salary contract, and his injury history — a nagging foot issue won’t do anything to improve his stock on the trade market.

In more positive Bulls injury news, forward Torrey Craig appears to be on the verge from returning from the right plantar fascia injury that has kept him on the shelf since December 16. Donovan said today that Craig practiced in full and could be available on Saturday if he feels good during Chicago’s shootaround (Twitter link via Johnson).

Central Notes: Haliburton, Bulls Injuries, Phillips, Lillard

When Tyrese Haliburton returned on January 19 from a five-game absence due to a left hamstring strain, he played 35 minutes, then immediately returned to the inactive list. Following another five-game layoff due to that troublesome hamstring, the Pacers are taking a more cautious approach with their star point guard this time around, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

Haliburton played only 22 minutes in his return in Boston on Tuesday, including just six in the second half. Head coach Rick Carlisle confirmed after the game that the All-Star is on a minutes restriction, which will likely continue at least through the rest of this week.

“It frustrates me,” Haliburton said. “I want to be on the floor. But it’s this organization’s job to protect me from myself. I’m a competitor. I want to compete, but I understand it at the end of the day. … I think that everybody wants to be safe and keep me on the floor as much as they can.”

The Pacers’ goal for Haliburton is to keep him on the court for as many games as possible the rest of the way, not just to improve their odds of a playoff berth in the East, but to ensure that he has a chance to earn All-NBA honors, which would increase the value of his five-year, maximum-salary extension by more than $40MM. Players must appear in at least 65 regular season games to qualify for end-of-season awards such as All-NBA.

Haliburton has already missed 13 games this season and fell short of the required 15-minute minimum in a 14th, but he essentially earned a bonus game toward his required 65 when the Pacers qualified for the in-season tournament final. That game doesn’t count toward the regular season results, but it will count toward Haliburton’s game total, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files confirms. That means the 23-year-old could miss up to four more contests this season and still be eligible for an All-NBA spot.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times passes along some injury updates on the Bulls, writing that Zach LaVine continues to deal with foot discomfort, while Dalen Terry is receiving treatment on a sprained ankle that kept him out of Wednesday’s game in Charlotte. However, head coach Billy Donovan said the Bulls are optimistic Terry will be back “relatively soon” and believe Torrey Craig is also “very close” to returning from the right foot injury that has sidelined him since mid-December.
  • Even once Craig is available, the Bulls may continue relying on rookie forward Julian Phillips for rotation minutes, at least until Patrick Williams is ready to return from his own foot injury. Donovan is confident that Phillips, who has averaged 18.3 minutes in the past three games, can handle the increased responsibilities, per Annie Constabile of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I give him credit for keeping himself ready and giving us a really good boost off the bench,” Donovan said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in him in terms of the way he has worked to prepare himself to get in there. Anytime somebody scores and makes some shots, it always looks good, but I also thought his activity was really good, as well.”
  • While Damian Lillard didn’t pick up a win in his return to Portland on Wednesday night, the Bucks guard is getting more comfortable in Milwaukee after a relocation process he described as “unsettling.” Jamal Collier of ESPN has the story and the quotes from Lillard.