Chicago Bulls Fielding Trade Offers for Guard Zach LaVine
Posted on: November 17, 2023, 11:10h.
Last updated on: November 17, 2023, 04:51h.
Chicago Bulls All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine has been the subject of trade rumors over the last three seasons, and the Bulls are currently fielding offers from multiple teams after a slow start.
Shams Charania from The Athletic reported that the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers are interested in acquiring LaVine in a trade.
There’s been increased openness from the organization and player about exploring a trade,” Charania wrote in a recent article.
LaVine, 28, recently began his seventh season in the NBA. Before the start of last season, the Bulls inked LaVine to a maximum contract extension worth $215 million over five seasons.
Same Drama, Different Year
LaVine, forward DeMar DeRozan, and center Nikola Vucevic were all mentioned in rumors leading up to last year’s trade deadline. The Bulls had a fractured locker room, but they kept all three starters, hoping they could fix their internal problems and make a playoff run.
The Bulls finished 40-42 last season, qualifying for the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament but ultimately failing to reach the playoffs.
Trade rumors persisted in the offseason, but the Bulls didn’t trade their stars. Head coach Billy Donovan attempted to revamp their isolation-heavy offense, which was the subject of strife in the previous season.
The regular season lasted one game before veterans called a “players only” meeting to air their grievances after a loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the season opener. Everyone reverted to their old ways instead of running Donovan’s new offense.
The Bulls won two of their next three games after the meeting but then lost four games in a row.
LaVine on Trade Rumors: ‘A Regular Wednesday’
The Orlando Magic edged the Bulls by two points on Wednesday in Chicago, and the Bulls sunk to 4-8 on the season. The Bulls fell to fourth place in the Central Division, and they’re now ranked #12 in the Eastern Conference. Trade chatter intensified after the ugly loss.
I’ve had this news for three years,” LaVine told reporters. “It’s nothing new to me. This is a regular Wednesday.”
LaVine’s overall numbers are down across the board. He’s averaging 21.7 points and 3.0 assists per game, which is his lowest scoring and assists average in six seasons. He struggles to find his groove while shooting 40.7% from the floor and 33% from the 3-point range.
During the best season of his career in 2020-21, LaVine averaged 27.4 points and 4.9 assists per game, shooting 50.7% from the field and a blistering 41.9% from 3-point land. That was also the last season before DeRozan joined the Bulls in a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs.
Meanwhile, DeRozan is also off to a slow start. He’s averaging 21.2 points per game, which is his lowest scoring average since the 2014-15 season. His shooting percentages are off in all three categories compared to last season.
LaVine or Caruso a Better Trade for the 76ers?
The 76ers would have to give up three rotation players, Nic Batum, Robert Covington, and Marcus Morris Sr., to make a viable salary match to acquire LaVine in a trade.
The Sixers like the depth they have now and the Bulls’ high-salary players may not be a fit,” said beat reporter John Clark from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
The 76ers are better off adding guard Alex Caruso in a trade with the Bulls. Caruso, the current sixth man on the Bulls, is an ideal 3-and-D type of player who would be a better fit with the 76ers than LaVine.
Caruso’s salary is $9.5 million this season, and he’s due $9.9 million next season. His contract offers the 76ers better financial flexibility versus LaVine’s max contract, in which he’s owed $43 million next season and $46 million in 2025-26.
Adding Caruso would help the 76ers upgrade their perimeter defense, and they wouldn’t have to lose key reserves and spot starters like Batum and Covington.
LaVine Long Shots: Lakers, Heat
The Lakers would love to add a high-volume scorer like LaVine, but other teams can offer the Bulls a better trade package. The Bulls want guard Austin Reaves, but the Lakers said he’s off-limits. The Lakers are willing to part ways with guard D’Angelo Russell, forward Rui Hachimura, and draft picks.
The Heat always get mentioned in rumors when an All-Star guard is on the trade block. Yet, Pat Riley and the Heat stand pat and avoid giving up draft capital and/or role players in pursuit of a headlines-grabbing trade. This happened last season during the trade deadline, and the Heat didn’t make any big moves but still managed to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the NBA Finals.
The Heat were the betting favorite to land All-Star point guard Damian Lillard in an offseason trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard requested a trade to the Heat, but negotiations broke down when the Trail Blazers asked for too much in return. The Trail Blazers traded Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, which seemed to come out of nowhere, but the Heat didn’t want to overpay for Lillard.
Despite all the chatter about LaVine heading to South Beach after guard Tyler Herro suffered an ankle injury, the Heat will continue to maintain a cautious approach on the trade market.
Betting the Bickering Bulls
The Indiana Pacers are the surprise team in the NBA this season, and they lead the league in scoring with 126.5 points per game. The Pacers (7-4) and Milwaukee Bucks (7-4) are tied for first place in the Central Division, yet the Pacers have odds of only +1300 to win the division.
The Bucks recently lost sixth man Jae Crowder for two months while he recovers from abductor surgery, but the Bucks are still the consensus favorite at -230 odds to win the Central Division title for the sixth consecutive season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are +280 odds to win the Central Division, and the Bulls are a long shot at +6500.
The Bulls are near the bottom of the futures board at +10000 odds to win the Eastern Conference. They’re also a long shot to win the 2023-24 NBA championship at +25000 odds.
The Bulls are 4-7-1 against the point spread this season. They host back-to-back home games on Friday and Saturday nights. The Bulls are currently a -2 favorite against the Orlando Magic, who are still in town for a second game after beating the Bulls on Wednesday. The Heat visit the Windy City for two games within three days, starting on Saturday.
The Bulls are +280 odds to make the playoffs but a favorite at -390 odds to miss the postseason.
According to a prop bet by DraftKings, the Bulls have a +180 odds of participating in the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament and finishing the regular season between seventh and 10th place in their conference.
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