Knicks Have ‘Motivation’ to Land Zach LaVine Via Trade: Report

Zach LaVine Quentin Grimes

Getty Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine is defended by Quentin Grimes of the New York Knicks.

To say that Jalen Brunson‘s exclusion from the Eastern Conference All-Star reserve list that was announced on Thursday was conspicuous doesn’t quite capture the vibe. The New York Knicks‘ return to the playoff race after a woeful, drama-filled 2021-22 campaign has arguably been one of the stories of the current NBA season and Brunson has been a key cog in the turnaround.

His numbers are nothing to sneeze at, either. Through 49 appearances, he’s averaging a career-best 22.8 points and 6.2 assists per game and connecting on 39.4% of his tries from long range.

At the same time, nobody was viewing him as a true lead dog when the Knicks acquired him over the summer and little has changed over the months that have ensued. Moreover, while the Knicks have definitely improved, they’re still not close to the team they were two years ago when they qualified for the postseason as a top-four seed.

With all that being the case, one could forgive team president Leon Rose for trolling the trade waters for another star-grabbing move. And that’s apparently what he’s doing now, as one league insider just listed the Knicks as a potential suitor for Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine.

Insider: Bulls Ready Pounce on Zach LaVine If the Bulls Make Him Available in Trade Discussions

Zach LaVine Scores A Season-High 11 THREES 🔥 | January 6, 2022Zach LaVine is now the 4th player to have multiple games of 11+ 3PT FGs in a game. Never miss a moment with the latest news, trending stories and highlights to bring you closer to your favorite players and teams. Download now:

Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer just dropped another roundup of trade deadline musings and intel that has been gathered in recent days/weeks. In doing so, he, like others, made the observation that there aren’t many big names gaining traction in the ongoing chatter.

As such, he sees the Bulls star being someone who could make some serious waves in the event that Chicago decides to explore its options. Wrote Fischer:

“That is why someone like Zach LaVine, the Bulls’ two-time All-Star who’s in the first season of a five-year, $215 million maximum contract, would have no shortage of suitors if Chicago decided to move the 27-year-old guard before next Thursday’s deadline — despite some concern about his recovery process from offseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.”

Fischer went on to namecheck the Knicks as a team that’s likely monitoring the situation, writing, “The Lakers, Heat, Knicks and Mavericks have consistently been mentioned by league personnel as holding motivations to land LaVine if the time does arrive.”

LaVine Has Recovered Well After Struggling to Find His Rhythm Early

Knee issues and a weird fit next to co-star DeMar DeRozan notwithstanding, LaVine has been a force to be reckoned with for the Bulls over the last two-ish months. Since December 4, the two-time All-Star has averaged 25.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 49.3% from the floor and 39.5% from deep.

He has been particularly good down the stretch, too, despite the fact that DeRozan is more identified with clutch heroics than he is. During the aforementioned stretch, LaVine has averaged 6.9 points per fourth quarter with 53-47-82 shooting splits in the period.

Of course, getting a player of that ilk to NYC would be costly. But the Knicks have no shortage of draft assets with which to sway Chicago. In 2023 alone, the team could have as many as four first-round picks (depending on how pick protections shake out). And young players like Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes may also hold some appeal for the Windy City crew as well.

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