Proposed Offseason Bulls Trade Lands $177 Million Former All-Star

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls have explored moving Zach LaVine at the last two trade deadlines but to no avail for myriad reasons.

Could a trade for another polarizing, oft-injured All-Star be in order?

Brooklyn is the perfect destination for LaVine, a franchise in need of some scoring punch and with no incentive to tank,” Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz wrote on February 29.

“Assuming LaVine makes a full recovery from foot surgery and gets back to his All-Star level of play, the 28-year-old could serve as the primary scorer and playmaker for a Nets team that already features a lot of defensive talent. If there’s any concern about LaVine’s ability to stop opponents, putting him in a starting lineup that features Mikal Bridges and Nic Claxton would help alleviate those worries.”

Swartz presents a hypothetical trade swapping LaVine for Ben Simmons and draft capital.

Bulls get:

– Ben Simmons
– 2029 first-round pick (via DAL)
– 2026 second-round pick
– 2028 second-round pick

Nets get:

– Zach LaVine

Simmons, 27, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He is a three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection. He was the Rookie of the Year and named to the All-Rookie team, and he led the league in steals in 2019-20.

However, that was all at least three seasons ago for Simmons. A back injury and mental health issues completely wiped out his 2021 season.

He appeared in 42 games last season, none after the All-Star break, thanks to a back injury.

Simmons has made just 15 appearances this season as he has battled injuries. His performance has only been a fraction of what it once was when he does play. He is averaging 6.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game over the last two years.

The most appealing part of adding him is that he would be going into the final year of his five-year, $177.2 million contract.

The Dallas Mavericks’ pick could be valuable amid uncertainty around Luka Doncic.

Bulls Struggled to Find Trade for Zach LaVine

Bulls brass has had no interest in moving LaVine in a salary dump, a concept that was widespread at the deadline with no movement on a trade for the two-time All-Star. He had dealt with a foot injury in addition to substandard play to that point.

LaVine has since been ruled out for the season following foot surgery that put the final nail in a potential trade with the Detroit Pistons.

His five-year, $215.1 million pact only exacerbated the issue. LaVine is owed just under $138 million over the next three years. That includes a $48.9 million player option for the 2026-27 season.

Lonzo Ball Shows Movement in New Video

The Bulls could position themselves to clear $60-plus million off their books after next season if they acquire Simmons as suggested in Swartz’s hypothetical scenario. Lonzo Ball will earn $20.5 million in the final year of a four-year, $80 million contract that expires in 2025 too.

The Bulls have laid the groundwork to have Ball’s salary cleared off the books before that. But they might not need to.

Following reports of increased concern over his recovery, Ball released a new workout video.

“Can’t cut yet either,” the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley posted on X, formerly Twitter, on February 29. “Watched him take jumpers when he was in Chicago. Looked very awkward. Long road still in front of him.”

Cowley broke the news of the Bulls’ concerns that Ball had not begun running as Head Coach Billy Donovan said they had hoped.