Insider Confirms Rival’s Interest in Bulls Franchise Cornerstone

Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls reacts to his team's performance.

Less than a week ago it seemed as though the Chicago Bulls were trending toward figuring things out after a rough start to the season. But, following their 133-118 loss to the young Houston Rockets, everything has to be back on the table.

The Bulls sit 11th in the Eastern Conference and one half-game back out of the six-seed.

Serious questions still exist about their ceiling could have them pondering all possible paths forward including moving on from some of their top players to replenish their draft coffers. Aging veterans DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic have been popular trade fodder in hypothetical trade scenarios.

However, Zach LaVine could net the largest return and a new team has been confirmed as interested.

Mavs ‘Fans’ of LaVine

“I just know that there are fans of him that hold prominent positions within the Mavericks,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said of LaVine on ‘The Lowe Post’ podcast on December 27. “Again, I’m not sitting here and telling you it’s some great consensus. I think there’s enough fans of him where I wouldn’t totally rule it out.”

McMahon also offered a rough framework for a potential deal citing LaVine’s contract and injury history as potential limitations on the return the Bulls can get.

Bulls Get:

Mavs Get:

  • Zach LaVine

LaVine has long been a rumored target of the Los Angeles Lakers even before saying that he’s “always been a big fan” of the organization this summer. He lives in L.A. during the offseason and played his college ball at UCLA.

Any connection to Dallas has been speculatory, though they need a co-star next to Luka Doncic.

Meanwhile, Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reported that LaVine and the organization aren’t seeing “eye to eye” on how to go about contending in the East.

The two-time All-Star is averaging 24.5 points on 61.8% true shooting since that report which revealed multiple team meetings and face-to-face conversations between LaVine and teammate DeMar DeRozan.

He recently opened up about his slow start to the season that saw him miss four of the Bulls’ first 11 games including the season-opening win over the Miami Heat.

Lowe did point out that the Bulls have yet to publicly show any signs of being ready to move on from LaVine, whose $215 million contract is the richest in franchise history. He added that both teams would likely feel as though they were doing too much too soon before letting things with their current groups play out, save for other minor deals.

Perception is Reality

LaVine has pushed back against those rumors of possibly wanting out of Chicago saying that if he had any issues, he would make them known. He chalked all of the noise surrounding that particular subject up to the Bulls’ mounting losses.

“I think everybody goes through ups and downs, just like every team does,” LaVine said about the reports of dysfunction with his teammates. “Obviously if we’re not winning games, not everybody’s going to be happy. It’s not going to look as good as it was before. It’s all glitter and show when you’re winning games.”

The Bulls’ three-game winning streak went a long way toward changing those perceptions and seemingly the chemistry on the team.

Alas, the Bulls are right back at square one with the loss to Houston dropping them to 3-8 versus opponents with a sub-.500 record.

The rumors and reports of rivals’ interest don’t figure to go away any time soon.

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