Proposed Trade Sees Rival ‘Throwing Caution to the Wind’ for Bulls’ Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

Getty Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls.

One of the lingering storylines of this past offseason was the Chicago Bulls exploring trade interest in Zach LaVine around the league. Nothing has come to fruition to this point. The former two-time All-Star is poised to be a focal point for a Bulls team looking for better results than another Play-In Tournament berth this season.

They made contact with several teams, though, and one – the Brooklyn Nets – could be primed to try again.

“If the Nets want to make something out of Mikal Bridges‘ prime, they have to give their rising star more scoring support,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on October 19. “That’s why Brooklyn could consider throwing caution to the wind with a blockbuster deal for LaVine.”

Buckley suggests swapping LaVine for a familiar face.

Bulls get:

Spencer Dinwiddie
Dorian Finney-Smith
Cam Thomas
– 2027 first-round pick (top-8 protected, via PHI)

Nets get:

– Zach LaVine

LaVine, 28, averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists last season.

He is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract. But trade rumors began to swirl around him last offseason, though then it was as a potential sign-and-trade candidate.

“He isn’t a perfect player—which, combined with his colossal contract, is the reason he’d only cost a single first-round pick,” Buckley continued. “But he is about as electric as it gets on the offensive end.”

Chicago has made contact with at least the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in addition to the Nets regarding a potential trade. But LaVine’s exorbitant contract and history of knee injuries are not the only issues. The Bulls have also held firm on their asking price which has been described as “giant” and the main reason the guard hasn’t been traded.

Dinwiddie, 30, spent time with the Windy City Bulls in the G League in 2016-17. But Chicago cut him twice.

Dinwiddie averaged 17.3 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.4 rebounds last season. He split the campaign between the Nets and Dallas Mavericks.

He is in the final year of a three-year, $54 million contract.

Finney-Smith, 30, averaged 8.3 points, 4.8 boards, and 1.5 assists last season, also split between the Mavericks and Nets as Dinwiddie’s teammate. He is in the second year of a four-year, $55.6 million contract with a $15.4 million player option in the final season.

Thomas, 22, was the No. 27 overall pick in 2021. He took the NBA world by storm last season, becoming the youngest player in league history with three consecutive outings with at least 40 points. But he averaged 10.6 points – along with 1.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists – last season while struggling to lock down a spot in head coach Jacque Vaughn’s rotations.


Bulls’ Asking Price Could Reflect True Intentions

“One league source said the Bulls would be focused on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine,” wrote NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson on June 19. “Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing.”

The Bulls sticking to this rumored price signifies that they may be willing to part with LaVine. But not at the cost of simply giving him away just to move off the contract. And, after re-signing Nikola Vucevic this offseason, the Bulls are still in on this core group.

LaVine also fits the Bulls’ desired style of play — as laid out by executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas — better than Vucevic or DeMar DeRozan.

He just needs the results to reflect that.


Zach LaVine on Bulls’ Core: ‘It’s Time’

The Bulls’ big three played more minutes together than any other trio in the league this past season.

But their net rating was just below average at minus-0.4, per NBA.com.

“For how explosive we are as individually, it hasn’t been shown as a unit,” LaVine said via the team on media day on October 2. “So we have to do a better job with that, and it’s been 3 years of it. It’s time to put pen to paper and actually see some results.”

Vucevic has expressed similar sentiments. He noted that this could be their last year together if they cannot put together a stronger campaign. DeRozan has noted that the opportunity to win is going to factor into his contract decision. Changes could be on the horizon even if none of the principles are planning for it right now.