Proposed Zach LaVine Trade Sends $120 Million Former Steals Leader to Bulls

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.

Things have quieted down for the Chicago Bulls when it comes to Zach LaVine trade rumors.

He has yet to return, which won’t happen until early January, per Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes on December 18. The team’s recent success has also put the focus back on the court.

Still, a trade could still be coming, and one potential trade partner that hasn’t gained much traction since last offseason is the Atlanta Hawks. They could re-emerge as a potential partner once again amid rumors they will explore their trade options with guard Dejounte Murray.

“Multiple teams consulted in Orlando believe that the Hawks will explore their trade options with Dejounte Murray over the next six weeks leading up to the Feb. 8 trade deadline,” wrote Marc Stein of The Stein Line on December 25.

Bulls get:

– Dejounte Murray
Patty Mills
– 2029 first-round pick

Hawks get:

– Zach LaVine

“The Knicks are among several teams who’ve expressed exploratory trade interest in Hawks guard Dejounte Murray,” Michael Scotto of HoopsHype wrote on December 22. “Murray can’t be traded until Jan. 9 after agreeing to a four-year, $120 million contract extension with the Hawks in July.”

Murray is a Klutch Sports client like LaVine. That is a barrier between the Hawks and Knicks, per Ian Begley of SportsNet New York on December 24. Knicks president Leon Rose and executive William Wesley were both with a competing agency (CAA) before their current roles.

LaVine is a career-38.2% shooter from beyond the arc whose athleticism and skill make him a threat to score from any spot on the floor. He is an elite catch-and-shoot option that would fit as a satellite around Trae Young, who is also a Klutch client.

Murray – who is from Seattle, less than 30 minutes away from LaVine’s hometown of Renton, Washington – led the NBA in steals in 2021-22.

He and Young made some Bulls-related history in their first campaign together last season, becoming the first set of teammates to average 20 points and 6.0 assists since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the 1991-92 season.

But the Hawks are off to a 12-17 start to the season. Stein believes they are willing to explore all of their options to upgrade the roster around Young.

That could leave the door open for the Bulls.

They are loaded with guards with Coby White enjoying a breakout. But Murray would add to their defense which ranks sixth since LaVine has been out, per He would also allow them to be more judicious in their deployment of Alex Caruso and he is more consistent than Jevon Carter and Ayo Dosunmu.

Insider Strikes Potential Zach LaVine Trade Partner From Bulls’ List

The Bulls have found few willing takers when it comes to moving LaVine in a trade. And one insider suggests that at least one potential suitor is absolutely off the table.

“The 76ers continue to be mentioned as a potential suitor for Chicago’s Zach LaVine. Based on my conversations at the G League Showcase, I continue to believe they shouldn’t be,” Stein wrote. “League sources say that Philadelphia … is still prioritizing a two-way player … as well as a move that does not limit its future optionality.”

Stein says the remaining three years and $138 million of his five-year, $215 million contract have “curtailed” trade talks. There is also the matter of LaVine’s injury history and the Bulls’ recent success without him.

The Los Angeles Lakers have also been linked to LaVine thanks to Klutch Sports’ influence within the organization.

Lakers Trade ‘Unlikely,’ Insider Says

“Could the Lakers’ recent struggles … prompt the purple and gold to emerge as a LaVine suitor,” Stein posed hypothetically. “That would be a departure from the Lakers’ recent preference to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with players on shorter deals to maintain maximum flexibility.”

That aligns with a report from NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin to the same effect.

“The Lakers remain the name most often mentioned with LaVine,” Helin wrote on December 26. “But sources have told NBC Sports that trade is unlikely.”

Begley notes an in-person sitdown could smooth things over between Klutch and Knicks leadership. But the Bulls could try to strike a deal with the Hawks, making it a moot point.