“LaVine desires to play for a winning franchise,” wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports on November 17. “LaVine and his representation hold several preferred landing spots, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers, league sources told Yahoo Sports, and each team has registered some level of interest in the Bulls guard.”
The two-time All-Star, LaVine, lives and trains in Los Angeles in the offseason. And the Lakers were a team many thought posed a threat to sign(-and-trade) him away from the Bulls when he was a free agent ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Chicago and Philadelphia held trade talks ahead of the deadline last season — before the latter loaded up on assets by trading James Harden — per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson in July.
Miami’s interest is notable given the Bulls were linked to Heat guard Tyler Herro this offseason.
LaVine would also team up with former Bull Jimmy Butler, for whom he was traded in 2017. Despite all of the interest registered by these teams – and the Toronto Raptors, per Shams Charania of The Athletic – none have been willing to meet the Bulls’ asking price.
There are some hurdles to clear on all fronts, though. The Lakers might need to wait until December 15 to make their pitch. That is when the bulk of their roster like D’Angelo Russell and Gabe Vincent become trade-eligible. And they have to January 15 for Rui Hachimura.
The Lakers would be in on LaVine if the price is right, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic on November 16.
Philadelphia prefers a two-way player, per Marc Stein of The Stein Line on November 16.
Meanwhile, Miami is on a seven-game winning streak. They made it to the NBA Finals last season with Herro missing all but the first playoff game too. Toronto has been notoriously shrewd in negotiations under team president Masai Ujiri. He stood pat at the trade deadline last season, letting point guard Fred VanVleet walk in free agency instead, despite rampant rumors.
“There is a general belief among league figures that any LaVine trade, whether to Los Angeles or otherwise, won’t occur until a later stage of this early season as opposed to something more imminent,” Fischer wrote.
Zach LaVine Eyeing Kings, Spurs as Trade Destinations
“LaVine also has an eye on joining the San Antonio Spurs … in order to pair with rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama and reunite with head coach Gregg Popovich, who oversaw the 2020 Team USA outfit that LaVine helped win a gold medal in Tokyo,” Fischer continued.
“There are several other contending situations LaVine would welcome joining, sources said, one being Sacramento.”
The Kings signed LaVine to an offer sheet in restricted free agency 2018. The Bulls matched it. But, during his free agency, resentment from having to go through that process to receive a new deal stuck with the guard.
LaVine even said he believed he would be a King.
Fischer also says LaVine is ready for a change from head coach Billy Donovan. Donovan benched him during a poor performance against the Orlando Magic last season. LaVine is still not over that, per Johnson on November 14. He also had a verbal altercation with teammates in the locker room last season.
Bulls Seeking “Superstar” Return for Zach LaVine
“The Chicago Bulls began to gauge the trade value of two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine this past offseason,” wrote Fischer, “even offering LaVine to several teams in search of packages that were equivalent to those of recent superstar returns.”
“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 Johnson in an article from June 19. “Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing.”
That package has yet to materialize and could be difficult to come by during the season.
LaVine has four years and $178-plus million remaining on his five-year, $215 million contract. The is also a $48.9 million player option in the final year.
Further, LaVine has had multiple knee surgeries. He had one to repair a torn ACL in 2018 and then an arthroscopic procedure ahead of last season. But he appeared in 77 games last season and was healthy for the entire offseason this summer.