On today’s episode of The Lowe Post Podcast, one of the NBA’s top insiders, Brian Windhorst, gave insight on where Zach LaVine stands 72 hours away from the trade deadline. Having been mentioned in several trade possibilities in the past month, including ESPN’s predicted blockbusters, it would seem LaVine’s status has since changed in the eyes of Chicago. The 27-year-old signed a max contract this past offseason and has not yet earned his lucrative deal with his play this season, partially due to his knee surgery this last summer and dealing with some hand issues spanning several games where his hand was heavily bandaged.
“I Don’t The Bulls Are Going To Surrender”
Windhorst put the Chicago Bulls situation very simply, saying that trading a star of Zach LaVine’s caliber would signify tanking and that without their first-round selection in this year’s draft, they have no reason to tank.
“I don’t think the Bulls are trading LaVine,”…”There is some package they would trade him for, but with thier situation where they don’t control their draft pick this year does not behoove tanking, and that would be a tanking move.”Brian Windhorst via The Lowe Post Podcast
LaVine has been a night-and-day player this season. For stretches, he’s been one of the league’s best scorers and outside shooters. After the new year, he led the entire NBA in scoring for the first two weeks of 2023, including making 25 threes over the span of four games, where he averaged 35.5 per contest on 45% shooting from the field and over 50% from deep.
For other stints, he’s been among the worst “star” players in the league, and his contract has looked like a massive mistake early for Chicago. In the five games following his hot stretch to start the new year, he shot 6-for-36 from three-point land, shot under 50% from the field in four of the five games, and had 13 turnovers over that span. His decision-making down the stretch of games has heavily been in question all season long.
If Not Lavine, Than Who?
While all signs are pointed to the Bulls not making any significant moves as the deadline nears, three names to still keep an eye on are wing defender Alex Caruso, starting center Nikola Vucevic, and reserve center Andre Drummond. As has been mentioned for weeks now, all three were given updates recently, some more urgent than others.
Alex Caruso: In another update this morning, it is said that the Bulls are willing to listen to offers for the defensive menace, but that the price tag is steep. Any contender looking to add perimeter defending via Caruso will have to pay a pretty penny for his services.
Nikola Vucevic: While his trade rumors have not picked up any legitimate traction or suitors, his situation alone indicates he could be headed out before the deadline hits. Having traded three first-round selections for him a few seasons ago and his becoming an unrestricted free agent in a few months, Chicago may look to get any sort of value in return before he walks out on a franchise where he only helped produce one single playoff win in the blockbuster exchange with Orlando for the big man.
Andre Drummond: Having been removed from the rotation for months now and only seldomly seeing the floor, Drummond will likely be dealt for any sort of return before he departs this summer and the Bulls get nothing in return. A contender looking to add bench rebounding and inside scoring could throw some late draft capital or a young undeveloped talent out for the 29-year-old center.
Seeing that Zach LaVine will stay in the Windy City, who should the Bulls deal before Thursday’s deadline?