With just a few weeks to go before the start of the NBA season, there are still a good number of questions circling the Chicago Bulls and other teams.
One lingering one in the Windy City questions the effectiveness of the new core, and we’re even seeing suggestions the Bulls make a major trade for young stars like the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson.
Would You Trade Zach LaVine for Zion Williamson?
Why are so many analysts ready to give up on the Bulls’ new core before they play a game?
No matter how much LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball talk about their commitment to maximizing this union, the doubters are still strong in volume. There is even talk that LaVine may be gettable as a free agent after the season if the Bulls don’t sign him to an extension.
On the strength of that notion, some such as Pippen Ain’t Easy’s Andrew Miller have already built contingency plans in the event Chicago has to trade LaVine.
Trade LaVine? Yes, despite the fantastic season he just had and the notion that his arrow is still pointing up, some believe trading him is still a logical move toward turning the Bulls into a contender.
While landing the former Duke Blue Devils freshman sensation and New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson might not be the most impactful move of any of the names on this list right away, it would be the most appealing over the long term. What better could Karnisovas and the Bulls do than trading for Zion? The fellow first-time All-Star selection Zion is part of a star forward duo that the Pelicans are building around with the former Los Angeles Laker and fellow Blue Devil Brandon Ingram. But that duo has yet to really lead to any success for the Pelicans in the last two seasons. It definitely wouldn’t be the Pelicans that would be the reason why Zion is traded. That would be a choice for Zion to want to leave for greener pastures. And if a Zion trade were to happen with the Bulls, the asking price would likely be enormous. The conversation would have to start with LaVine, and who knows where it would end. But if Zion were on the table, there’s no way that Karnisovas and the Bulls should not be ready for that conversation.
Williamson is an All-Star and an excellent young player who is 6 years younger than LaVine. Still, it is hard to definitively say that would be a good deal for the Bulls.
Williamson is an undersized power forward he isn’t a great rebounder (7 per game) or shooter (.333 from three-point range), and he’s also not an excellent defender.
I don’t think anyone knows if Williamson projects as a winner in the NBA over the long haul, and there are some serious concerns about long-term durability. The Bulls would seemingly be better off investing in LaVine’s prime.
LaVine Seems Committed to Staying in Chicago
According to David Kaplan of the Kap and J-Hood Show on ESPN Radio, LaVine has told people he wants to stay in Chicago.
Kaplan said: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
Chicago should try to get LaVine to sign an extension. If he doesn’t, but he consistently reiterates his desire to stay in Chicago so that he can collect on a max-deal, the Bulls will likely take him at his word and risk losing the young star if he gets wooed by a team with a more ready-made championship opportunity.
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