Proposed Bulls Trade Lands $107 Million Former Top-3 Pick for Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.

With another loss, the Chicago Bulls have done very little to quell the offseason trade speculation surrounding them. They sent out feelers this offseason, gauging trade interest in DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine as their push for continuity has only led to inefficiency on the floor and mediocrity in the standings.

Andy Bailey of Bleacher Reports suggests the New York Knicks as a potential trade partner for the Bulls.

Bulls get:

Knicks get:

  • Zach LaVine

“The Bulls need an entirely new start,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey on November 13. “Getting multiple picks for DeRozan and LaVine would provide a good foundation for the rebuild. If Barrett wound up living up to his draft position in Chicago, even better.”

Barrett, 23, was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

He is averaging career-highs with 22.6 points on 62% true shooting and 3.1 assists, adding 3.4 rebounds while shooting 48.7% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc. Barrett is also shooting 84.8% at the free-throw line. He is in the first year of a four-year, $107 million contract extension.

The 6-foot-6 swingman is currently day-to-day with an illness. He missed the Knicks’ 114-98 loss to the Boston Celtics on November 13.

But he was averaging 24.7 points and connecting on 57.9% of his deep looks in the three games before his most recent absence. And, at five years younger than LaVine, Barrett would extend whatever timeline the Bulls put themselves on next.

Fournier, 31, has not suited up for the Knicks this season.

This continues his absence from head coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation that dates back to last season. He has been open about his future in New York possibly coming to an end in part because of financial reasons. Fournier is in the third year of a four-year, $73 million contract and has a $19 million player option for the 2024-25 season.

Zach LaVine’s Name Has Come Up In Multiple Trade Rumors

LaVine has been linked to several teams, including the Knicks, dating back to last year’s trade deadline.

The Bulls and Knicks communicated on a deal but could not come to terms on an agreement.

“New York made contact with the Chicago Bulls about their shooting guard, Zach LaVine, but the asking price for the two-time All-Star was ‘giant’…which is exactly why LaVine remains in Chicago,” wrote Fred Katz of The Athletic on July 20. “The Knicks and Bulls, according to league sources, never got close.”

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Bulls had no intentions of trading LaVine. But that was as things stood on November 1.

And their asking price has remained high.

But they have gone 2-4 since then. And LaVine hasn’t been his typical dynamic self consistently to this point. The pressure within the organization to do something — even if it’s just a turnaround — before it’s too late to capitalize in either direction is growing.

Bulls Under Pressure

Unlike in some other proposals involving the Bulls stars, all of the players involved in this proposal have been under contract so they can be traded at any time. It is just a matter of the Knicks feeling they need to make a big splash to stay in the thick of the Eastern Conference. And the Bulls would need to believe their window for contention is closed.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has repeatedly said he will explore every avenue to improve the team.

A deal of this magnitude could be the necessary next step.