The first heavy-hitting news in the Zach LaVine story arc has arrived, as league sources spill some shocking details about LaVine, his tenure with Chicago, and his desires moving forward. It was pretty well documented that last season’s benching late in the fourth quarter of a November matchup with the Orlando Magic never sat well with the two-time All-Star and that it left a lasting effect on him and head coach Billy Donovan’s relationship. According to Yahoo Sports, per league sources, LaVine is “ready to play under a different head coach than Billy Donovan, who signed an extension with the club before the 2022-23 season began”. KC Johnson of NBC Chicago said earlier this week that he believes LaVine still hasn’t moved on from the incident last season, and now things are toppling in the Windy City.
Hero To A Villain
Zach LaVine’s career has taken many turns in Chicago. It’s where he earned his first two All-Star nods, won his first playoff game and made his first postseason appearance, surpassed the 20 points per game mark for the first time in his career and has done so all seven years with the Bulls, and set his career bests in every statistical category. Many will remember LaVine as a Chicago Bull, but the newer fans will only remember the turmoil and poison he’s brought to the locker room the last few years.
There’s just a feel amid the 4-8 start to the 2023 season that it’s time for a change, which will begin with Zach LaVine. His inconsistencies this season and every year he’s been with the Bulls, his lack of playoff success, the failure to coexist with other All-Stars brought into Chicago, and his poor late-game decision-making all will lead to his exit. Not to be discredited, he will go down in the top-ten in three-point field goals and points in Bulls history.
His Preferred Landing Spots
Rich Paul, LaVine’s agent, is widely known for securing his clients very wealthy contracts and landing them in their desired destinations. “LaVine desires to play for a winning franchise,” says Yahoo Sports’s Senior NBA reporter Jake Fischer, and his wishlist reflects that sentiment.
The 28-year-old star guard has named the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers as places he’d want to land and added in the San Antonio Spurs, which fall outside the “winning franchise” definition from above. Sources said that was due to his “wanting to pair with rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama and reunite with head coach Greg Popovich, who oversaw the 2020 Team USA outfit that LaVine helped win a gold medal in Tokyo.” He was one of the most efficient three-point shooters on that roster and played some of his best basketball with that team. The Kings were also mentioned on his wishlist, a franchise that made him an offer in 2018 before he opted to extend his five-year stay in Chicago worth $215 million.
This breaking news feels like the boat has officially tipped over on LaVine, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s dealt to a contender. He does not have a no-trade clause in his contract with Chicago, so he’s at the mercy of the club on where he’ll end up. Depending on how much more is dug up on the history between LaVine and the organization, it might be similar to Damian Lillard’s situation in Portland, where the Bulls are less inclined to oblige his requests if things get ugly.