Rival Linked to Zach LaVine Trade Talks Amid Blowup With Teammates

Zach LaVine

Getty Zach LaVine #8, Chicago Bulls

After the Minnesota Timberwolves blew out the Chicago Bulls, 150-126, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that there had been a blowup in the locker room between Bulls’ players at halftime and that this was the second time that has happened this season.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago later confirmed the report while also specifying that the blowup came from teammates directing at Zach LaVine, which escalated from there.

In light of LaVine’s recent blowup with teammates, Johnson wrote an article detailing that the New York Knicks are a team who could potentially be interested in LaVine’s services should he hit the trade market.

“LaVine is enduring an up-and-down season that began with him in and out of the lineup as he dealt with a management plan for his twice-surgically repaired knee. Still, he, too, could be coveted by teams like the Lakers and Knicks should he be prominently placed in trade talks,” Johnson said.

LaVine is averaging 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from three in 21 games this season. The Knicks have multiple first-round picks, as well as expendable players on large contracts like Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose to offer for LaVine should the two sides start discussing a trade, but LaVine has not been put in trade talks.

What Bulls Would Look For in LaVine trade

After saying that teams like the Lakers and Knicks could be interested in LaVine, Johnson previewed what the Bulls could potentially be looking for in return for him and what obstacles could get in their way.

“LaVine signed a five-year, $215 million max contract this offseason. The Bulls likely would seek a package of young players and draft picks in return.

“However, given the history of LaVine’s knee, the amount of money left on his deal, and signs that his on-court decision-making ability is regressing, it may be hard to find a suitor. And even in the event of a roster reset, his age (27) combined with his value being at a low point could compel the Bulls to prioritize the Bulls flipping other chips first.”

While LaVine may have an injury history and has not been as efficient as he has been in previous seasons, teams who are looking for stars that can help their playoff chances could be interested in what he has to offer despite what he’s being paid. They have to keep in mind that, after starting his ninth year in the NBA, LaVine has only been to the playoffs once in his NBA career.

Reported Tension Between LaVine and DeMar DeRozan

In a December 20 The Athletic story, Shams Charania reported that the Bulls have been conducting one-on-one sitdowns between LaVine and DeRozan to work out their issues.

“The Bulls have held multiple team meetings trying to work out their issues, and that has included one-on-one, face-to-face sitdowns between DeRozan and LaVine, according to team and league sources who were granted anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on team dynamics,” Charania said.

Charania added that while the two of them get along, their difference in playstyles has led to tension, which has only been amplified by the Bulls’ struggles.

“DeRozan and LaVine have always had a strong mutual respect,” Charania said. “They maintain a good personal relationship. But their meetings have not led to in-game results so far, with a level of on-court, stylistic tension simply festering throughout the season and being magnified due to the win-loss record

It has not been confirmed if DeRozan was one of the players involved in the confrontation between LaVine and his teammates.

Read More