The Chicago Bulls will have some important decisions to make this summer, and that all starts with what to do with Zach LaVine. Obviously, the ideal scenario for Chicago would be to re-sign the star guard, but that’s not completely up to them.
LaVine is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career and will have free rein over where he chooses to sign. Most people believe he will re-join the Bulls on a max contract, but there are some that believe he could choose to leave.
Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report recently wrote an article discussing his five biggest predictions for the offseason. He predicted that LaVine will leave the Bulls in favor of the Miami Heat, but in return, the Bulls would get a 22-year-old star.
“This is exactly the kind of opening on which Heat president Pat Riley often pounces. His team also happens to need a half-court shot-creator in the worst kind of way—none of Jimmy Butler’s teammates averaged even 15 points in the playoffs—and his roster just happens to feature a massive sign-and-trade chip in Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro,” Buckley wrote.
Herro would be a top-notch consolation prize for the Bulls, who could potentially lose LaVine for nothing if he decides to join a team with cap space. But if the Heat are his preferred destination, then the two teams would have to work out a sign-and-trade.
Both teams could benefit from this move, and Buckley thinks it’s possible due to each side’s contender status.
Heat Want to Spend, Bulls Might Not
Buckley pointed out the possibility that Chicago may not see themselves as a true contender quite yet. In turn, they may be hesitant to pay LaVine a ton of money. However, as Miami has proven in recent years, they are a contender, and spending money shouldn’t be a problem for Pat Riley.
“The Heat could decide that having the 32-year-old Butler at the helm means they don’t have the time to wait for Herro’s next level of development. The Bulls, who recorded one playoff trip and zero series wins across LaVine’s five seasons in Chicago, could be worried about spending too much too soon on a non-contender,” Buckley stated.
The Heat made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals this past year before losing to the Boston Celtics. Meanwhile, the Bulls stumbled their way to the sixth seed after a hot start to the year, only to lose to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games.
The trade idea of LaVine for Herro has been brought up in the past, but in previous deals, Miami’s point guard was involved as well.
Past LaVine-for-Herro Trade Idea
Back on May 31, Frank Urbina and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype brought up this idea, but for salary-matching purposes, included Heat point guard Kyle Lowry as well.
“A package of two-to-three first round picks, along with Lowry and Tyler Herro to match salaries would probably be the framework of such a deal,” Gozlan pointed out.
Regardless of Lowry’s inclusion, Herro would be a solid LaVine replacement. As mentioned, Chicago’s ideal outcome would be to re-sign LaVine, but if he decides to walk, getting a young, future star in return for him would be great.