The Chicago Bulls don’t take the court again until their November 15 showdown with the Orlando Magic. But they stole headlines across the NBA world on November 14 with Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium detailing a potential change in direction.
“I’m told teams have begun probing the Bulls on the availability of Zach LaVine,” Charania said on “The Rally” on November 14. “And I’m told there is increased openness from both LaVine and the Bulls on a trade. Most of the NBA’s general managers are here in Chicago today. That’s where conversations are expected to begin in earnest as the season begins.”
But Charania noted the expected suitors for the two-time All-Star, LaVine.
“Teams that are expected to have a level of interest in LaVine I’m told: the Lakers, Heat, and 76ers,” Charania said. “The sense around the league is, whether it’s LaVine or [DeMar] DeRozan or both, there could be movement in Chicago sooner than later.”
The Bulls shopped LaVine this past offseason, speaking with, among others, the Philadelphia 76ers. Also in on LaVine during the last transaction window were the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. But Chicago’s asking price has been high enough to prevent any of the interested teams from surrendering what the Bulls were seeking in return for LaVine in a trade.
LaVine, 28, is averaging 21.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists this season. He is shooting 40.9% overall and 30.9% from deep with all but the boards marking a step back from last year.
He is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract.
Zach LaVine: ‘You Don’t Love’ Trade Rumors
LaVine has repeatedly noted his commitment to the Bulls. He re-signed ahead of the 2022-23 season without taking a visit with another team. But he has also not been shy about expressing his displeasure with the constant trade rumors.
“It is always rumors,” LaVine said via NBC Sports Bay Area on August 5. “But I always heard this: when there’s smoke, there’s fire. And every once in a while, you see you see a little bit too much smoke. So I’ve been with the Bulls for seven years. I’ve had my name in trade talks. You don’t love it but you understand the business.”
It is unclear who the leaking party is this time around.
Bulls Losing DeMar DeRozan’s Commitment
“There’s obviously this uncertainty around LaVine,” Charania said. “And also, DeMar DeRozan, he’s on an expiring contract. They’re not close in extension talks, and I think DeRozan also wants to see what direction is this organization going in.”
But, just like DeRozan himself said, Eversley noted it had to make sense for both sides.
The Bulls rejected popular sentiments for two years. They brought back a core that has just one playoff appearance and win (single game) since Eversley and executive vice president of basketball operations Arutras Karnisovas took over ahead of the 2020-21 season. It seems they may finally be ready to pull the plug amid another shaky start.