The Chicago Bulls are 3-6 and the sharks are smelling chum in the water.
“In talking to some people around the league, the scouts are jamming themselves into Bulls games because they realize that, at some point, the Bulls may break this team up,” ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst said on “NBA Today” on November 11. “And they’re all gathering intelligence.”
This is not so surprising. The Bulls put feelers out this offseason and, in Zach LaVine’s case, ahead of the trade deadline last season.
“He’s … got a contract that is a little bit prohibitive,” Windhorst said about LaVine. “The Bulls wouldn’t say this. The Bulls right now would say, ‘No, we’re going to keep Zach.’ But the cost for him on the market might not be outrageous because you’d have to take on that contract too.”
LaVine is a two-time former All-Star. He is averaging 25.4 points and shooting 40% from beyond the arc over the last seven games.
He is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract. That, in combination with his injury history, has been a source of contention for potential suitors. The Bulls’ asking price has also been described as the reason LaVine is still a Bull.
“I think the Bulls should have started a rebuild 20 minutes ago,” Windhorst said.
“[The New York Knicks] made contact with the Chicago Bulls about their shooting guard, Zach LaVine, but the asking price for the two-time All-Star was ‘giant’…which is exactly why LaVine remains in Chicago,” wrote Fred Katz of The Athletic on July 20. “The Knicks and Bulls, according to league sources, never got close.”
“Rival teams have checked in with the Bulls about LaVine’s availability,” wrote ESPN’s Jamal Collier on October 9. “No team has been willing to meet Chicago’s reportedly large asking price.”
‘Big If’ That Bulls Change Stance on Zach LaVine
“According to a source close to the situation, the Bulls have no intention of trading LaVine anytime soon,” wrote Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on November 1. “And even if that changes — a big if — it’s unlikely that the [Philadelphia] 76ers fit the profile of what the Bulls would be looking for in return.”
LaVine addressed the myriad trade rumors surrounding him this offseason. He noted that there can be “too much smoke” at times.
But the rumors have been persistent.
“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.”
Other Teams to Watch in Potential Zach LaVine Trade
In addition to the 76ers and Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers remain a prominent name in most star trade rumors. This is no different. “NBA Today” host Chiney Ogwumike even said during the program the Lakers with LaVine as a third star would be a “championship team”.
The Bulls have also made contact with the Brooklyn Nets. There has been some light connection to the Dallas Mavericks and even the Miami Heat over this past offseason.
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