Chicago Bulls ‘Blow It Up’ in Analyst’s 2 Zach LaVine Trade Proposals

Zach LaVine

Getty Zach LaVine dribbles the ball up the court during a February 3 game against the New York Knicks.

This NBA offseason is shaping up to be a wild one, and in that, the Chicago Bulls sit squarely on the fence as a team that could blow it up and start over, or hedge all their chips in a trade for a third star.

To fans, one path may sound more realistic than the other, but remember: Zach LaVine is entering the final year of his four-year/$80-million contract.

With speculation already mounting that he’ll bypass extension talks this summer, don’t expect Chicago to be foolish enough to let him walk for nothing.

If the Bulls get the sense from either LaVine or his camp that he intends to head elsewhere in free agency in 2022, there is no better time to trade him.

There’s already been talk of a potential swap with the Philadelphia 76ers that brings Ben Simmons to Chicago.

But one analyst over at Bleacher Report seems to think the best landing spot for the Bulls’ All-Star guard lies out in the Western Conference.

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Proposal 1: LaVine Teams Up with Ja Morant

In his latest piece for Bleacher Report, 1 Offseason Trade Idea for Every NBA Team, Dan Favale provided one offseason trade proposal for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, and Zach LaVine’s name was littered throughout the article.

He pitched a scenario where the Memphis Grizzlies go all-in, for the first of two trade proposals involving the Bulls’ All-Star.

  • Chicago Bulls receive: Grayson Allen, Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, the No. 17 in this year’s draft, 2023 first-round pick (top-three protection), and a 2024 first-round pick
  • Memphis Grizzlies receive: Zach LaVine

Even with three first-round picks on the table, and LaVine one year away from free agency, this doesn’t seem like enough.

None of Allen, Bane, or Melton project to be anything more than a quality role player on a good team, and as a package would clog up the Bulls guard rotation.

Which is exactly why Favale suggests Chicago could go as far as to ask for an additional first-round pick:

Chicago might even push for a 2022 first-round pick, of which Memphis has two: Utah’s (top-six protection) and its own. That’s a touch too far unless the Bulls can send something else back in return or is willing to accept a salary alternative to Bane. Those picks also underscore how pretty Memphis is sitting: Even after ponying up for LaVine, its asset chest is far from empty.

Bane had a strong first year, but it feels as if he’s almost being overvalued here. Although he shot 51 percent from the three-point line (3.4 attempts), the 23-year old rookie averaged just 9.2 points per game.

Mind you, numbers don’t always (if ever) tell the whole story.

But for Desmond Bane to be projected hold up in a trade for Zach LaVine, highlights just how far the Memphis Grizzlies are from acquiring a player of his caliber, and equally how far the Chicago Bulls are from trading him.

Proposal 2: LaVine the Next Splash Brother?

Favale pitched a blockbuster deal with the Golden State Warriors for his next deal, one that if anything, holds a stronger likelihood as of today.

  • Chicago Bulls receive: Kelly Oubre. Jr. (sign-and-trade), No. 7, No. 14, 2022 first-round pick (unprotected), 2023 first-round pick swap (top-one protection), 2026 first-round pick (top-10 protection, pending 2024 obligation to Memphis)
  • Golden State Warriors receive: Zach LaVine

Now we’re talking. Two first-round picks in this year’s draft, both in the lottery, is the kind of deal that could convince Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls front office to pull the trigger on a deal like this today.

The three other first-round picks help, too.

A sign-and-trade featuring Kelly Oubre Jr. also presents an out to acquire an additional first-round pick, or young prospect in the not-too-distant future.

This is the kind of blockbuster trade package that sets you up for the aftermath of losing your best player.

It’s hard to imagine the Chicago Bulls wouldn’t think long and hard about this, if not ultimately agree to terms.

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