Zach LaVine is the Chicago Bulls’ best player. He proved that again on Monday night when he scored 30 points in a 120-112 overtime win on the road against the rival Indiana Pacers.
The Bulls’ win snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Pacers.
As good as LaVine was again on Monday, he put aside his success during the postgame meeting with the media to acknowledge a teammate, and a consistent target of trade rumors, as the team’s MVP.
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Thad Young With Another Strong Performance
While LaVine paced the Bulls with 30 and made several big baskets down the stretch–including a step-back, go-ahead three-pointer in the face of Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis–Young again showed why he’s been so valuable to the Bulls this season.
In a reserve role, Young played 30 minutes. He scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished four assists, and had two steals. His poise, stability, and overall stat-sheet stuffing impact have been one of the bright spots in an up-and-down year for Chicago.
In February, Young has averaged 13.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and he’s shot 63.8% from the field. All year long, he’s been the Bulls’ most dependable big men taking on larger frontcourt players each night and holding his own.
It makes you wonder if the Bulls will be able to hold on to Young past the upcoming trade deadline.
The Pros and Cons of Trading Young
According to multiple sources, Young’s name is a hot one as the March 25 deadline approaches. The Bulls are a fringe playoff contender at this point, and teams that are higher on the postseason totem pole are likely to be on the hunt for veterans like Young, who can hopefully put them over the hump.
According to an NBA source, teams hoping to acquire talent by the tentative March 25 trade deadline are increasingly looking to the Bulls as a potential trade partner, with veteran forward Thad Young suddenly drawing the most interest. Young’s contract is some-what salary-cap-friendly — he’ll make $13.5 million this season and $14.1 million next season — and he would be ideal for a key bench spot on a contending team. However, the source said Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ executive vice president of basketball operations, has given no indication he’s willing to part with any players.
Young is popular with his teammates. If there is one thing the Bulls have going for themselves, it’s team chemistry. Moving Young would remove a precious piece of the veteran group (which also includes Tomas Satoransky, Otto Porter Jr., and Garrett Temple) from the mix.
However, if the Bulls move Young and land a legitimate point guard like the New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball, fans would probably warm up to the idea quickly. Ball has been rumored to be on the Bulls’ radar all season, and there have been reports linking Young to the Pelicans in a potential trade for the popular but underachieving point guard.
Reports suggest the Pelicans would want more in return for Ball, but that could come in a second-round pick. We’ll have to wait and see, but Young’s value to the Bulls could ultimately be proven beyond what he does on the court and in the locker room, but also out to what Chicago can procure after a deal that plugs a significant void.