The one Bulls player who has been seen as untouchable on this roster, SG Zach LaVine could possibly be moved. On his podcast, The Lowe Post, ESPN Sportswriter Zach Lowe discussed trade scenarios across the NBA with analyst Bill Simmons. They were discussing the Denver Nuggets and their performance in this year’s NBA Bubble. The discussion led them to Nuggets PF Michael Porter Jr. During the NBA Bubble Porter Jr. showed signs of breaking out and unleashing his potential. However, that lead many to believe he isn’t okay being third fiddle on the team. As the two discussed potential trades to move Porter Jr. Lowe had this to say
Zach Lavine has been rumored to denver, a lot, in the past, i think.
Lowe isn’t incorrect in thinking that LaVine has been rumored to Denver multiple times in the past. Most recently before this past season’s trade deadline.
Before the traded deadline, the Denver Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez for Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 10, 2020
In case you don’t remember when this trade would have been discussed current Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas was with the Denver Nuggets. Karnišovas knows a tremendous amount about that Denver Nuggets roster since he helped build the team that made it to the Western Conference Finals this year. That leads people to wonder, will Karnišovas make a deal with Denver to bring some of that talent to Chicago?
Can the Bulls afford to trade LaVine?
This all depends on who you ask. If Bulls management believes he is the centerpiece of this team then obviously, no. But if the Bulls believe he will always be a number 2 guy then it might be their only option. Sell high while you can as teams are looking for one more piece to get them over the hump. It is important to note that while still in Denver Karnišovas was trying to bring LaVine to his team. That would lead a lot of people to believe that Karnišovas would have no interest in getting rid of him now that he has him. However, stranger things have happened.
What would that trade look like?
Most likely this trade would be surrounded around Michael Porter Jr. but that certainly wouldn’t be enough for the Bulls to let go of LaVine. As it sits right now the Nuggets aren’t loaded with draft picks so it certainly wouldn’t be for more picks. The Bulls already have a very young team so adding more youth straight out of the draft wouldn’t be ideal. It would be possible to see some of the players offered up in the initial trade package before the deadline. There are a lot of different avenues for this trade to work. The Nuggets are aware that Porter Jr. looked good in the playoffs and I’m sure they are also looking to sell high right now. It’s just a matter of what other pieces they could offer.
Would this be a good trade for the Bulls?
Truthfully it’s hard to tell. Porter Jr. was projected to be an All-Star-caliber talent in the NBA. There were even comparisons to Lebron James. However, Porter Jr. ended up having a serious back injury in college that had prospects looking the other way. He slid a bit in the draft due to that injury and it’s still a concern in a lot of people’s eyes. Porter missed his entire first season in the NBA due to the injury. However, his potential still appears to be sky-high. He’s a big body at 6’10 and 220 lbs who has a great jump shot. He has all of the physical attributes to become a star.
As far as worth to the Bulls that still all would depend on what comes with Porter Jr. Losing Zach LaVine would be a lot for this team considering he accounted for 32% of the team’s points over the course of this past season. If Porter Jr’s health is no longer a concern a trade like this could be big.
Keep in mind at this point this is all speculation. On The Lowe Post podcast, they were going over potential trades across the entire league. There has been no official word on whether Karnišovas has an interest in Porter Jr. coming to the Bulls. Karnišovas has extensive knowledge of that Nuggets roster so trading with Denver may not be out of the question. As this offseason continues we should get a glimpse into the mind of Karnišovas and the direction he is trying to go with this team.