$215 Million Star Open to Trade, Should the Knicks Bite?

Tom Thibodeau, Zach LaVine, Knicks

Getty New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau coached Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine for one season in Minnesota.

The Chicago Bulls star Zach Lavine, one of the New York Knicks trade targets, could be on the move, according to The Athletic.

“…there’s been increased openness from the organization and player about exploring a trade, league sources said,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry reported on Tuesday, November 14.

The Bulls’ 4-7 start has pushed the management to reconsider their options.

LaVine is averaging 21.9 points, 3.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds to start the season. He is on the second year of a $215 million, five-year contract.

The Knicks checked in with the Bulls last February ahead of the trade deadline but talks did not advance, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. Should they pull the trigger if LaVine indeed becomes available?

It depends on the price.

NBC Sports’ Bulls insider K.C. Johnson reported in June that LaVine’s price tag was pegged higher than what the Washington Wizards have gotten for Bradley Beal.

“The Bulls, according to league sources, are valuing LaVine highly, as they should. He’s a two-time All-Star who is coming off a season in which he overcame a slow start to average 24.8 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 60.7 percent.

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. Another said one first-round pick and an established, high-end player might be sufficiently intriguing,” Johnson wrote.

On Tuesday, Johnson weighed in on the LaVine news on X (formerly Twitter) if the Bulls’ asking price has dropped given their poor start.

The Knicks have a cache of draft capital and intriguing young players, including Immanuel Quickley, who failed to come to terms with an extension with the Knicks in the offseason.

Bidding War for Zach Lavine

If LaVine becomes available, the Bulls will create a bidding war.

“Just because a player is open to change doesn’t mean the Bulls will make a bad deal or move him just to move him. After all, management began this season fully committed to returning to the playoffs with this group,” Johnson wrote on Tuesday.

The Knicks will have to compete with conference rival Philadelphia 76ers, who are seeking to replace James Harden with another star to flank with Joel Embiid and the rising Tyrese Maxey.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix mentioned LaVine and OG Anunoby, another Knicks trade target in the past, as names to watch in Philadelphia.

The Sixers are now armed with two first-round draft picks, a pick swap, and two second-rounders, a part of their haul from the Harden trade.

‘One Player Away’

The Knicks are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference after they faded down the stretch in a 114-98 loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

Former Knicks general manager Scott Perry believes “they are just one player away.”

“And here’s why. I think they’re one player away. A player that can come in — and doesn’t have to be a superstar player either — a player who can create some offense off the dribble, to take some of the pressure off Jalen Brunson having to do that as well, or Julius Randle having to do it, or RJ Barrett,” Perry said on the NBA Today on Tuesday.

Perry made the 2004 Detroit Pistons team that won the NBA title with an in-season trade for Rasheed Wallace as a reference.

“[The Pistons] were in a very similar position that the Knicks are in right now. We were in the middle of the pack. We were like fourth or fifth in the Eastern Conference, we were a good basketball team, but we needed to get over the hump,” said Perry, recalling the Wallace trade.

A Detroit native, Perry was a front-office executive under Joe Dumars during the improbable Pistons’ 2004 championship run.

“I think we are the, maybe the last team to make an in-season move like that to go ahead and win a title. I believe in the collective, and I think the Knicks have something in terms of depth. So you add one more player to that mix. You don’t have to go the typical three-superstar route to get it done,” Perry said.


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