As we get closer to the draft there’s plenty of speculation as to how this Bulls roster will transform. Early on in the Bulls offseason, the thought was there were a few untouchables on the roster. Bulls SG Zach LaVine was one of those players that we deemed untouchable. That may not be the case as we get closer to the 2020 NBA Draft.
According to @KevinOConnorNBA, the Dallas Mavericks are one of several teams that have shown interest in trading for Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) November 12, 2020
This isn’t the first time that the Mavericks have been rumored to be looking at Zach LaVine. Ahead of the trade deadline earlier this year LaVine’s name was floated around as potentially being a target for the Mavericks. In the latest mock draft done by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, he has the Bulls selecting Illawara PG LaMelo Ball with the 4th pick. In his analysis, he goes on to say that with this selection there would surely be more changes to the Bulls roster. The main change would be moving on from LaVine via trade. The Mavericks as well as other teams apparently have an interest in LaVine.
Would the Bulls be willing to trade LaVine?
Let’s be honest, LaVine is one of the few bright spots in the Bulls horrendous season last year. He was the backbone of the team’s offense all season. He also provided some entertainment with his public frustration with former head coach Jim Boylen. However, we have to remember that the Bulls are under new management. The Bulls brought in Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas and General Manager Marc Eversley this offseason to turn this franchise around. They have started that process by acquiring a new head coach in Billy Donovan.
Billy Donovan might see this team going in a different direction and may want to see what they can get for LaVine. This team may be looking ahead to see what they can do in the future. The 2021 offseason is supposed to be filled with big-name free agents and they could use this as an opportunity to get rid of a big contract. The new front office has been quiet about their vision for this roster. But anything is on the table with this roster.
What can the Bulls get in return?
If this trade is focused solely around LaVine and no one else the Bulls could see themselves getting picks and most likely a role player in return.
The first trade package that comes to mind would be something like the Bulls receiving SG Tim Hardaway Jr, the Mavs 2020 1st round pick (18), and a future 2nd round pick. This would give the Bulls an expiring deal with Hardaway Jr. whose contract is up after this season. Along with that they get a second 1st round pick in this years draft and then another pick down the road. This would set the Bulls up nicely for a big free agent push in 2021. If the Mavericks are high on LaVine I think this could be enough to get the Bulls to bite.
However, if the Mavs aren’t as high on LaVine the trade offer may include more players. They may look to move some of their younger guys and get LaVine along with another bench player from the Bulls. There are a lot of options out there but if they are serious about getting LaVine it may take a trade like the one above to get the team inerested.
Would this make the Bulls better?
The short answer is no. However, this all depends on who the team gets in the draft. Let’s say the mock draft by The Ringer is actually how it plays out. The Bulls would walk away with PG LaMelo Ball and then have another pick in the 1st round. At the 18th spot in the draft there will still be plenty of good options remaining. The Bulls are already a young team so this would add to the youth of the team. But they would add a veteran presence in Hardaway Jr. He averaged 15.8 PPG last season and filled a nice role for the Mavericks. However, his work load would certainly change if he were playing for the Bulls. The teams offense would certainly struggle if LaVine was gone.
This would change the dynamic of this Bulls roster as a whole. Zach LaVine is a town favorite so the initial reaction would be poor. Depending on the timing of this trade it could also have a major impact on what the front office would do. They could potentially make a trade like this and package their additional first round and their second round picks to try and move up and have two top 10 draft picks this year. There’s a lot that could be done in that situation. This scenario would be to set themselves up for the 2021-22 season and not this upcoming year.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that any of these rumors coming out could potentially happen. The Bulls haven’t come out with an untouchables list. They haven’t even given a hint as to what their draft strategy is. Karnišovas built a great team in Denver and he isn’t afraid to make questionable moves if it means creating a great team. LaVine could be on the move come draft night but there could also be no changes to this roster. At this stage Bulls fans have to trust the new front office.