Proposed Bulls Trade Swaps Zach LaVine for Former Sixth Man of the Year

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.

Despite their words and public actions, the Chicago Bulls continue to pop up in trade rumors with Zach LaVine a staple in the chatter of late.

The Bulls have gauged interest in the two-time All-Star around the league and teams like the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers have all been mentioned in connection to a potential trade for LaVine in some form or fashion. But could the Miami Heat, hot in pursuit of Blazers star Damian Lillard, pivot to LaVine?

“Miami needs more offense than a healthy [Tyler] Herro can provide,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on July 11. “That’s why upgrading to LaVine could be so compelling, particularly if the Heat don’t have the assets to land Lillard.”

Bulls get:

– Tyler Herro
Duncan Robinson
Nikola Jovic

Heat get:

– Zach LaVine
Dalen Terry

“Chicago could be wary of plateauing as a play-in team and see this trade as a way of raising its ceiling,” Buckley continued. “This trade package is somewhat future-focused, but not in a way that would waste the remaining prime years of DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević.”

Bulls Could Diversify Zach LaVine’s Salary

Herro, 23, averaged 20.1 points and career-highs of 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 37.8% from beyond the arc.

The NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2021-22, he is starting a four-year, $120 million contract next season which is $58 million less than LaVine, 28, is owed over the remaining four years of his five-year, $215 million contract signed just last offseason.

Herro broke his hand in the Heat’s playoff opener and missed their run to the NBA Finals.

However, Miami ranked 25th in offensive rating during the regular season when Herro made a career-high 67 appearances.

Robinson, 29, averaged just 6.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists this past season in the third year of a five-year, $90 million pact. His role was diminished for most of the season due to his defensive limitations and his three-point efficiency cratering to 32.8%. But the 6-foot-7 swingman got his groove back in the postseason, canning his deep looks at a 44.2% clip.

Only three first-round picks from the 2022 class saw fewer minutes than Terry did during the regular season and Jovic, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, was one of them. He could replace former second-round pick Marko Simonovic who the Bulls waived on July 5.

The 20-year-old big man averaged 5.5 points and 2.1 rebounds across 15 regular season appearances.

And, in his eight starts, The 6-foot-10 Jovic averaged 8.5 points, 3.5 boards, and 1.1 assists.

This Offer Likely Falls Short of Bulls’ Expectations

Miami did what it did, beating the Bulls in the second round of the Play-In Tournament and reaching the NBA Finals largely without any of the players the Bulls would be getting back, and we have already heard rumors of what they would be seeking in return for their franchise cornerstone in a trade.

This deal also adds more than $7 million to the bottom line for a team that is not decidedly better and is devoid of any future draft capital.

The Bulls have maintained a high valuation of LaVine and with good reason. But, with all the rumors swirling around him dating back to the trade deadline, it’s a wonder where the true meeting ground on a potential trade might be.

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