NBA Trade season is in full swing, and while much of the league is currently focused on the Bradley Beal lottery, he isn’t the only star shooting guard to hit the market this week.according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Chicago Bulls have been quietly gauging interest in Zach LaVine. According to Fisher, the Bulls overvalued LaVine and wanted more from him than the Wizards did from Beal.
In a way, this makes sense. LaVine is almost two years younger than Beal, has slightly better numbers over the past two seasons, and most importantly, he doesn’t have a no-trade clause that limits his market. The Wizards can only trade Beal to the team he wants to play for, but the Bulls can send LaVine to any team willing to give them a fair offer.
Of course, finding one isn’t easy. LaVine has dealt with a number of serious lower-body injuries, including a torn ACL. He underwent left knee surgery last offseason, which led to a very slow start to 2022. He eventually returned to form, but these injuries are a serious long-term concern. LaVine has four years remaining on the max deal he signed last offseason, so if he can’t stay healthy, his new team will be stuck with him for quite some time. LaVine has never been a stout defender, so his ability to stay healthy and score is paramount.
The Bulls are terribly in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings. Right now, they are too good to rebuild easily, but not good enough to enter real competition after losing in the play-offs. DeMar DeRozan will turn 34 this offseason. There are serious long-term question marks over Lonzo Ball’s health. Nikola Vucevic is a free agent. If the Bulls are going to make significant changes to their roster, LaVine will almost have to be the player to be traded.
That doesn’t mean he can or should be cheap. Three-level scorers are rare, and LaVine is just as comfortable above the rim as he is outside the arc. His contract and injury history are scary, but he’s still an All-Star, and players like that always command handsome returns in the trade market.
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