Wednesday, July 3, 2024

The Bulls Zach Lavine Situation Is Reportedly Even Worse Than Expected

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Everybody is waiting for the big shoe to drop with DeMar DeRozan in the next week or so. The All-Star has clearly reached the end of his run with the Chicago Bulls. Alex Caruso is already gone. Expectations are he will be next once a team comes forward with a sign-and-trade offer the Bulls can be happy with. Nikola Vucevic is another name that could get moved if a market develops. The youth movement is underway. However, one gigantic elephant in the room remains. That is Zach Lavine.

Chicago is in a tough spot with him. His massive contract is difficult to move, and his rehabbing from season-ending surgery makes his appeal to other teams even lower. This leads one to believe he may have to return to the Bulls for another year. However, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reveals the organization is doing everything possible to prevent that. The relationship between the two sides appears even more bitter and broken than originally believed.

While there is a scenario in which LaVine is not moved and returns to the Bulls, he would do so to a locker room that would welcome him back, but a front office and ownership group that consider it the worst-case scenario.

An NBA insider told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that the relationship between LaVine and the team’s top brass is completely shattered and “filled with mistrust.”

LaVine and his representation at Klutch Sports feel like they were misled on possible trade destinations, and the Bulls thought LaVine “opting” for season-ending right foot surgery when rehab on the injury was still on the table was a counterpunch thrown below the belt.

Zach Lavine isn’t helping his cause much.

Feeling bitter about how the Bulls have handled things is fine. That said, leaving them high and dry by taking the surgery route mid-season when it wasn’t necessary probably didn’t help the perception of him on the wider NBA landscape. Lavine likes to think of himself as a superstar. Yet nothing he’s done to this point justifies that. He is mostly known for his scoring prowess and little else. Worse still, he now has an inarguable reputation for being injury-prone. Chicago gave him every opportunity to establish himself as a true franchise cornerstone. They even paid him like one.

Nobody disputes that the Bulls have made their fair share of blunders when handling their players in years past. However, this time, Zach Lavine seems just as much or more to blame. If he’d tried harder to be there for his guys, maybe the team would’ve had an easier time granting his requests for a trade. Now he is stuck. The Bulls can’t just give him away for free. It looks more and more like he will have to return next season. If he’s smart, he will accept the reality and play hard until the next opportunity comes.

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