Zach LaVine’s Former Teammate Floated as ‘Realistic’ Trade Target for Bulls

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 and DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls could find a solution to a couple of their issues in Zach LaVine’s former college teammate.

Kyle Anderson…could fill some of the playmaking gaps on both ends,” writes Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on May 4. “Most good teams could find a decent role for him, but his defense and distribution would be particularly beneficial to the Bulls.”

The two were teammates in 2014 at UCLA.

Anderson, 29, averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.1 steals this past season. A Swiss Army knife on the court, Anderson shot 50.9% from the floor overall and a career-high 41% from three-point range, albeit on a modest 1.5 attempts per game which fits his agenda as a playmaking defender.

“The 6’9″, 230-pounder routinely makes good decisions with the basketball,” notes Buckley. “He is more programmed to pass than to attack, but he’ll take whatever the defense allows. This past season, that approach allowed him to convert 50.9 percent of his field goals while dishing a career-high 4.9 assists against only 1.5 turnovers.

“On defense, he leans on his length and intelligence to grant him a good deal of versatility. He can slide up or down a spot without losing much of anything.”

Anderson will earn $9.2 million in the final year of a two-year, $18 million contract.

He is credited with being a leader, sometimes to a fault as was the case in a sideline altercation during which teammate Rudy Gobert punched him in the chest. They moved on but perhaps enough damage has been done to create an opening for the Bulls to swoop in.

Kyle Anderson Would Check Several Boxes for Bulls

To Buckley’s point, while not a 1-for-1 replacement, Anderson would provide a nice playmaking option for a team in desperate need with starter Lonzo Ball expected to miss most if not all of next season, Coby White a restricted free agent who’s still unproven in that role, and last season’s closing starter Patrick Beverley speculating he could see anywhere from $13 to $15 million on his next contract.

Adding Anderson would allow Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ plan to add some size to the forward position and some three-point shooting.

“It will be a priority for us to kind of change our shooting profile,” Karnisovas said during his end-of-season press conference via the Bulls’ official YouTube channel on April 15. “So we’re going to look at it, first as in shot creation and then obviously have our personnel. … Just to bring shooters, that’s one thing. We have a couple of deficiencies from giving up second-chance points – you could look at a lot of things statistically and what we need to add.”

Needing and pursuing Anderson is different from landing him which could be difficult with Buckley noting how most good teams could find a spot for him and what he brings.

How Bulls Could Land Kyle Anderson

The Bulls are limited in what they can do by a lack of draft capital and contracts that align with the players they might need to add. As far as simple player-for-player deals go, they could offer up one of Alex Caruso or Patrick Williams. However, head coach Billy Donovan would be a big winner if he could build his defense around all three.

Their options beyond that are limited and would take some additional work. White or fellow young guard Ayo Dosunmu might appeal to the Timberwolves but both would require a sign-and-trade which further complicates things.

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