Bulls’ Zach LaVine to Undergo Season-Ending Surgery: Report

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls will not have Zach LaVine for the rest of the 2023-24 season following news that the two-time All-Star will undergo surgery for the foot injury that has cost him 24 games already this season.

“After seeking additional medical opinions, in consultation with the Chicago Bulls training and medical staff, guard Zach LaVine and Klutch Sports Group have elected surgery on LaVine’s right foot as the next step in his recovery process. Surgery is anticipated the week of February 5,” the team’s official release from February 3 reads.

“LaVine will be out 4-6 months. Updates will be provided as necessary.”

LaVine, 28, finishes the season with averages of 19.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.

His rebounds set a new career high while his points and assists are the lowest since the 2017-18 season, his first with the Bulls. LaVine missed four of the first 11 games last season following offseason knee surgery.

But he went on to play 77 games and entered this season healthy.

Bulls May Be Stuck With Zach LaVine

That said, the Bulls were actively trying to trade the two-time All-Star ahead of the deadline on February 8. They hoped to get a better idea of where the rest of the roster stood.

They will have to take that plan into the offseason, now, though it will come with additional challenges. LaVine’s injury history and three years and roughly $138 million left on his contract were already hindrances to finding a taker.

His style of play has also come into question given how well the Bulls played without him.

His projected timeline would keep him out until August on the longer end. That is into August and the latter stages of the offseason.

It is difficult to envision a scenario in which it gets easier for the Bulls to move him for anything more than a salary dump this offseason. Perhaps now they will alter their stance of holding off on other moves pending a LaVine trade.

Quiet Market for Bulls’ Other Players

“League sources continue to tell the Sun-Times that while the Bulls have been active in trying to move guard Zach LaVine’s maximum contract, most of their other players haven’t been discussed seriously as trade possibilities,” the Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley wrote on February 2.

Could that change as Thursday’s deadline approaches? Absolutely. But the growing opinion is that if LaVine can’t be traded, the Bulls likely will make a smaller tweak to the existing lineup.”

Per Cowley, that could even include moving off two-time All-Star big man Andre Drummond.

“Contending teams would love the idea of adding Drummond as a backup big and another body to throw at the likes of the 76ersJoel Embiid or the NuggetsNikola Jokic in a playoff series,” Cowlet wrote. “Don’t expect much back, however — maybe a young, struggling big and a second-round pick at best.”

Cowley gives Drummond a 60% chance of being traded, by far the highest on the team. Next is DeMar DeRozan, LaVine, and Alex Caruso.

DeRozan has said he has never and does not plan on demanding a trade.

The Bulls want to keep Caruso around despite his being their best trade asset in terms of players, per Cowley. That could leave them stuck in their current trajectory for ninth place in the Eastern Conference and, at best, a Play-In Tournament berth.