Zach LaVine averaged 25.5 points per game during the 2019-20 NBA season and teams took notice. Despite his breakout season, the Chicago Bulls struggled, and like many of his teammates, LaVine butted heads with unpopular head coach Jim Boylen.
Recent reports say multiple teams are showing interest in trading for LaVine should he become available.
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Knicks and Nets Showing Interest in Zach LaVine
SNY’s Ian Begley reports:
Per SNY sources, both teams have done background work on LaVine to be prepared for the possibility that Chicago ends up listening to trade offers on the 25-year-old guard.
Undoubtedly, both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets would be excited about the possibilities of adding a high-scoring, dynamic backcourt player like LaVine to their roster.
The thought of the Nets taking the court next season with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, and LaVine is pretty exciting for Nets fans.
Why LaVine Might Be Available
The Bulls have hired a new Vice President of Basketball Operations in Arturas Karsinovas, and general manager in Marc Eversley, but up to now have retained Boylan as the head coach. Boylan was a favorite of the previous management regime who hired him, but was consistently at odds with many of the players on the roster, and was identified as the primary irritation that nearly resulted in a mutiny in 2018.
Last season wasn’t much better, and thus it is somewhat unfathomable to some fans and members of the media that Boylen hasn’t been relieved of his duties.
The hesitation to dismiss Boylen could have a negative impact on the way LaVine and other players receive the new management regime. If that’s the case, there is a belief that LaVine may ask the Bulls to trade him before the beginning of the 2020-21 NBA season.
LaVine Recently Visited the New Bulls Regime
Before pro-LaVine Bulls fans get too uptight, the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson reports the star guard recently had a positive visit with the new-look front office.
It’s early. But LaVine came to Chicago 2 weeks ago for positive visit with new regime and voluntary workouts at Advocate Center. And while teams always listen, new regime initially has been focused more on maximizing roster potential in advance of uncertain 20/21, ‘21 cap space. https://t.co/YaGOsHGUxD
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 24, 2020
Keeping the pieces in place isn’t the worst idea for the Bulls who still have a promising nucleus with Coby White beginning to emerge as a potential star point guard and LaVine. However, there are still a ton of questions too. The oft-injured Otto Porter and Wendell Carter Jr., and a disenchanted Lauri Markkanen who seems to be battling issues with his confidence complicate what was supposed to be a youth movement.
Porter’s spot seems to be the one that would allow for the Bulls to potentially add an impact player in free agency or the draft, but as a team, they must get better defensively. There is much to do from a personnel and coaching standpoints, and there is also a great deal left to determine as it pertains to the salary cap for next year after things have been turned upside down because of COVID-19.
That said, it’s hard to find the sense in holding onto Boylen for any reason, but especially not if retaining him rubs LaVine the wrong way. LaVine isn’t LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, but his opinion of the coach, since validated by almost every other teammate, should hold some weight.