Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Zach LaVine Is Reportedly “Bothered” By Trade Rumors Surrounding Deadline


It does not come as a surprise that Zach LaVine is bothered by something within the organization. In a year full of trials and tribulations for the two-time All-Star, there have been half a dozen reports throughout the year that LaVine is either “disgruntled,” “not seeing eye-to-eye” with the organization, or now is “bothered.” Each carries a different level of validity or evidence, and this one’s very believable and wouldn’t surprise any Bulls fans. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times said on the Bernstein & Holmes Show on the 670 Score radio that LaVine was “bothered by the trade talk” surrounding his name and the deadline last month. Since that trade cut off has passed, it’s looking like a bothered LaVine is the best version of the former UCLA guard.

Getting Mad At The Wrong People

This report is somewhat eye-rolling in that Zach LaVine, of all candidates, should not be bothered by trade talk. Coming into the deadline, the team was under .500, out of the playoff picture entirely, didn’t own the rights to their first-round pick, and was looking down the barrel of an offseason where several key pieces could walk with no clear plan in place. Simply put, he should be upset with himself.

“I know for a fact he was really bothered with the rumors at the trade deadline, i think he also sees the writing on the wall that this is going to be revisited again this summer.”

Joe Cowley via 670 The Score Radio

Many players in a similar situation to him were mentioned or even dealt around the February trade deadline, and there’s no reason he should’ve been an exception. Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, and John Wall are comparable in salary figures, and while all of those players had worse seasons at the time than LaVine, as far as an impact on a team, LaVine’s lack of production wasn’t far off for much of the season. His splits before the calendar turned to 2023 were a major part of why Chicago has yet to be over .500 for the entire 2022-23′ campaign. Being a max-contract player does not carry the privilege of taking two months to get back to full capabilities on the floor. His numbers in the clutch were among the league’s worst, and in some ways, his defense started the downward spiral of negative energy surrounding the Windy City following his complete lack of effort in Minnesota.

The Best Medicine

While it’s never fun to read that a star is disgruntled or bothered by things happening, especially within the same building, this might have been the best thing for LaVine. Heading into All-Star weekend, Zach LaVine received 17 player votes of the possible 450, 0 media votes, and finished outside the top 10 in fan voting for Eastern Conference guards while shouldering a brand new max contract, not a great look. It looks like he took the early write-off personally and since has been on a tear that stacks up against the best in the NBA.

In the new year, LaVine has dropped 25 or more points in 16-of-27 possible contests, including seven games over 35 points. His play of late is incredibly encouraging because he was signed as a pure scorer, and since the signing of Patrick Beverley, he’s been other-worldly from an efficiency standpoint. From the floor, he’s 43-for-67, including 13-for-24 from deep, averaging nearly 30 points per game since the true point-guard addition. It would seem LaVine heard the 11-year veteran loud and clear.

In a season where nearly everything has gone sideways for the Chicago Bulls, Zach LaVine blossoming down the stretch is the best news they’ve received all year. If his scoring onslaught continues and the team’s defense stays ranked among the league’s best, it might turn into a postseason berth.

Standing 1.5 games back of the Play-In Tournament, seven of their next nine games will come against opponents at or above the .500 mark, all of whom are currently in the playoff standings. They’ll start the uphill battle against the newly re-tooled Phoenix Suns, who won their first game with Kevin Durant by 14 over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.


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Lynn Todd
Lynn Todd
Mar 3, 2023 3:46 pm

Poor baby. If he would have played like a champion this would have never have happened. Even more reason to say goodbye

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