Over the last few days, the rumor mill has fired up again. First suggesting that LaVine may try and get out of Chicago if the team keeps coach Jim Boylen. The second rumor gained some traction, saying the team would be willing to listen to trades surrounding LaVine and other players.
As much as we try to ignore the rumors this one is starting to look like it could happen. K.C. Johnson touched on LaVine’s frustrations on the Bull’s talk podcast.
ZACH IS TIRED OF LOSING AND TIRED OF HAVING RUN-INS WITH HIS COACH AND TIRED OF A LOT OF THINGS.
When you have that perfect storm of a player being frustrated with the coach, tired of losing, and not feeling like they are being listened to these rumors become reality. Since we ultimately won’t know what the outcome will be until it happens I thought I would dive into some realistic trade partners with the Bulls and what the team could get from trading LaVine.
The first trade partner I would like to touch on is the Brooklyn Nets. This team set themselves up for an exciting future with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They knew the 19-20 season would be a dress rehearsal for the guys on the team who aren’t big-name players. The season came and went for this team and the outcome wasn’t great. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see them try and add a third star to complement Kyrie and KD.
What would this trade package look like? The Nets don’t have a ton of draft assets but they do have a couple of intriguing players. The Nets could look to create a trade package with Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen who are two young up and coming players. LeVert makes sense as a “replacement” for LaVine but Allen would most likely come in as a backup to Carter Jr. or create some friendly competition at the center position. In my opinion, those two just wouldn’t sweeten the deal enough to make that trade. The Nets would need to throw in either their 2021 or 2022 1st round pick.
If LaVine wants to be traded to a contender then this would definitely be an option for him. It would all depend on if the Bulls see enough value from a trade like this to send him to Brooklyn.
The next realistic trade partner is the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are in a somewhat similar boat as the Nets. They have two great players in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. A trade for LaVine could put them over the edge.
If we look at this trade from a financial position then it would make sense that the Nuggets would try sending Gary Harris in a deal due to his contract and LaVine’s being almost the same. Gary Harris is an alright player nothing special so the package would need to be padded quite a bit to pull LaVine away. That’s where this could get interesting. Michael Porter Jr. could be an option but it would be somewhat surprising if the Nuggets pulled the plug on him this early into his career. So then realistically the Nuggets would need to add a 1st round pick to the deal, preferably their 2020 1st round pick acquired from the Rockets. Depending on how the NBA restart goes they could even throw in Bol Bol to sweeten the deal.
Again this is another situation where LaVine goes to a contender and the Bulls can get some young assets or picks in return. With Karnisovas’ connections with the Nuggets, he may be able to sweeten the pot a little bit more by throwing in an up and coming player that he had on his radar.
The 76ers are an interesting team. They have Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid who work well together, however, Simmons doesn’t really pose a threat as a jump shooter. So the defense knows that they can crash towards the boards to slow down their game. LaVine would be a perfect asset to help spread out the floor and draw defenders away from the basket. This would surely complement the team’s overall game.
What would the 76ers be willing to give away to make that happen? This trade would have to come down to the finances. In order to get the contracts to match up, the 76ers would look at sending Josh Richardson and Mike Scott or Zhaire Smith. Again this would be another trade where they would need to add something to sweeten the pot. Josh Richardson is a solid player but he isn’t going to produce what LaVine did. There would need to be a draft pick thrown into the mix whether that be for this year’s draft or 2021 there’s no way that trade goes through without one.
The 76ers are another team that matches LaVine’s desire to contend and can give young players and draft capital.
Will LaVine Be Out The Door?
All of this is obviously speculation at this point. This is all dependent on how LaVine feels with the current makeup of the front office, coaching staff, and team. The NBA has become a league where the players have a lot of power. If you see LaVine requesting a trade other players could follow. This also creates a poor reputation right away for the Bulls under Karnisovas. Only time will tell how this plays out but the Bulls have a few options to get some draft assets and young talent if they do have to send Zach out the door.
The hope is that LaVine stays and the Bulls young core continues to build together. However, the front office looking to keep Boylen as the head coach seems to destroy that idea. The Bulls may be looking to go into a soft rebuild and show Boylen the door after this year. Whether that’s the right decision or not only time will tell. Ultimately this is up to the new front office. We are all hoping they have a good plan set in place for the future of this franchise.