Proposed ‘Prove It’ Trade Sends Bulls New $215M Franchise Cornerstone

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.

Given the Chicago Bulls’ history of struggles finding a point guard, perhaps they could throw their hat into the running for Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young should he become available.

“This feels like a sort of ‘prove it’ trade for both the Chicago Bulls and Hawks,” wrote Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report on April 10. “The [Zach] LaVineDeMar DeRozanNikola Vučević core clearly isn’t going to contend for a title any time soon. … And Chicago’s current point guard, Lonzo Ball, may be the biggest health mystery in the league right now.”

Bulls Get:

– Trae Young

Hawks Get:

– Zach LaVine
– 2027 1st Round Pick

“Young would instantly supercharge the team’s attack,” Bailey argues. “And if Lonzo somehow got back to 100 percent during Young’s stay, he’s big and versatile enough to be more of a secondary playmaker at the 2.”

Ball has been sidelined since before the trade deadline of the 2022 season and is set to miss most if not all of the 2023-24 season as well following his third knee surgery in 14 months.

Conversely, Young is coming off his second consecutive season leading the NBA in total assists. He also led the league in total points last season, finishing ninth this season – ahead of LaVine by one point. But the 24-year-old star does not come without question marks hence why he could even potentially be available in the first place.

This trade would arm the Bulls with the premier playmaker in the league while getting them off the hook for an older player with a more-extensive and intensive injury history. Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu, and Patrick Williams could cover Young’s defensive deficiencies.

They would have Coby White to space the floor as well.

Trae Young – Zach LaVine Tale of the Tape

“With the offseason approaching…the Hawks’ front office has the green light from ownership to do whatever it wants to with the roster, which includes considering trade opportunities involving All-Star point guard Trae Young,” wrote Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on April 9. “Regardless of Trae’s desire to stay, it could be the Hawks that decide to change course following a likely early exit from the play-in or the postseason.”

Listed at 6-foot-1, Young is also a defensive liability who has not taken to playing off the ball as expected after the Hawks made a blockbuster trade for Dejounte Murray this offseason.

Young averaged 26.2 points on 57.3% true shooting with 10.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds during the regular season. Like LaVine, he had to shake off a slow start, albeit for different reasons, before rounding into form.

LaVine – 24.8/4.5/4.2, 60.7% TS – had arthroscopic knee surgery.

Young got new teammates and, after the All-Star break, the third head coach of his NBA career fueling speculation of a potential divorce from the Hawks.

“So, why would Atlanta do it,” asks Bailey before answering his own question. “LaVine might simply be a better fit next to Murray than Young is. And while he’s no lockdown defender, he’s four inches taller than Young and a superior athlete. With Murray’s 6’4″ frame and 6’10” wingspan, the Hawks would suddenly have a backcourt with plus size.”

LaVine – who is on a similar $215 million pact as Young is with Atlanta – and Murray also both hail from the state of Washington and have a pre-existing relationship because of that.

Bulls Shopped Zach Lavine, Hawks Talked Trae Young Trade

LaVine’s play has led to a shift in opinions that building around him is feasible in some way depending on the moves the Bulls can make around him. But the Bulls were rumored to have had trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks at this year’s trade deadline, though nothing obviously came of it.

The Hawks are said to have at least discussed the possibility of trading Young.

Hawks governor Tony Ressler has expressed his fondness for Young but also said his front office – and newly-hired head coach, Quin Snyder – will have the final say leaving the door open for something to happen. But the Bulls’ assets are still as they were when they were mentioned in connection with other deals over the last year-plus likely leaving them trailing the pack if and when the offers start flying in in earnest.

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