Despite several teams being linked to the former two-time All-Star in trade rumors including the New York Knicks, and LaVine even coming out and addressing them, he remains a member of the Bulls. And a new report offers some additional insight as to why.
“New York made contact with the Chicago Bulls about their shooting guard, Zach LaVine, but the asking price for the two-time All-Star was ‘giant’…which is exactly why LaVine remains in Chicago,” wrote Fred Katz of The Athletic on July 20. “The Knicks and Bulls, according to league sources, never got close.”
We’ve known that the Bulls and Knicks held trade talks regarding the 28-year-old swingman.
The talks never gained much traction but we also got wind of what the Bulls’ potential asking price was.
But LaVine – who is represented by Klutch Sports – is said to have little interest in a move to the Knicks with Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News citing favoritism for clients represented by CAA, the former agency of Knicks president Leon Rose.
“One league source said the Bulls would be focused on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine,” wrote NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson on June 19. “Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing.”
But it could be a reason teams are not willing to meet the Bulls’ asking price for a player that is still on a relatively team-friendly deal, especially in the current NBA landscape.
Zach LaVine’s Contract in Context
LaVine’s five-year, $215 million contract ranks 16th in average annual value, per Spotrac; tied with Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks. The Bulls star averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc and appearing in 77 games this past season.
But from January 6 through April 4, LaVine averaged 27.3 points and shot 38.3% from deep.
He had to shake off an arthroscopic knee procedure over the offseason before rounding into shape. And there were clashes with head coach Billy Donovan and teammates that were brushed aside as typical occurrences during what was a trying campaign.
“It is always rumors,” LaVine said, per Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago on July 13. “You don’t love it, but you understand the business. I’ve been traded before, so you understand it.”
Bulls Blocking Best Avenue to Recoup Assets
From the sounds of it, other teams are willing to trade for LaVine. And while the Bulls’ “giant” asking price is standing in the way, it’s quite possible that, as has happened in other instances, knowing how LaVine feels about certain markets could be influencing how far potential suitors are willing to go.
It only takes one team to agree to a trade for the price tag on LaVine to simply be considered the cost of doing business rather than exorbitant.
Until then, we don’t know just how much of an appetite the Bulls have for dealing him away.