Nets Explored Trade for $215M Star Ahead of Deadline: Report

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Head Coach Jacque Vaughn of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Brooklyn Nets (33-22) went All-Star hunting at the trade deadline, well, former All-Star.

Amid their attempts to appease Kevin Durant and keep him in the fold, they kicked the tires on trading for two-time All-Star Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.

“Keep an eye on Chicago, which continues to take offers for Zach LaVine,” wrote Matt Moore of The Action Network. “Brooklyn and Chicago had talks before the Durant trade; it’s not known how the Durant trade affects Brooklyn’s interest in LaVine.”

As we now know, the Nets ultimately traded Durant to the Phoenix Suns for a package that featured five first-round picks – four outright and another as a swap option – as well as blue-chip prospects Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. There are reports that they turned down a rather sizeable subsequent deal that would have sent Bridges to an undisclosed third team.

“I just know whenever I’m suiting up, I wear Chicago Bulls and I’m happy with that,” LaVine said before the deadline passed and before his Bulls fell 116-105 to the Nets per NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson. “Going into the trade deadline, I didn’t have any worry because I didn’t have any calls or any speculation.”

As confident as LaVine was, his name came up in at least one other significant trade rumor with the former 13th overall pick (2014).

The Bulls were involved in talks with the New York Knicks.

Johnson reported on the ‘Bulls Talk Podcast’ on February 10 that the Knicks were in deeper pursuit of Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby and that his read on the talks regarding LaVine was that they had taken place “awhile back”.

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Ian Begley of SportsNet New York speculated that this seems like a deal that could be revisited in the summer.

That is when the Knicks will have another first-round draft pick available to trade but the bigger get might be that they get to see how LaVine finishes off the season coming off of knee surgery this past summer. All of this comes after the Bulls and most league circles insisted that LaVine was basically off the table in trade talks until a previous report from Moore.

“The Bulls would demand star assets back in a trade for Zach LaVine, but he isn’t considered “off the table” by other teams,” Moore wrote on February 6.

Is Zach LaVine’s Time in Chicago Coming to an End?

LaVine signed a five-year, $215 million max contract that made him the highest-paid player in franchise history.

At the time he signed, he professed his love for Chicago after never even taking a meeting with another team as an unrestricted free agent. The Bulls were adamant about not moving off any of their big three of LaVine DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic but that stance has since softened and it seems LaVine may be the perhaps surprising odd man out.

“My eyes are towards the summer,” Johnson said. “My eyes are on, specifically, one of the big three because I think that’s how you reset this…I know they’re not going to go into a full rebuild. So they’re not trading all three of them. But I think the way out of this is to get what you can for one of those three players. My eyes would probably most go towards Zach LaVine and we’ll see where it goes.”

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