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Chicago Bulls Trade Rumors: Zach LaVine to 76ers, Heat, Lakers

Posted on: November 17, 2023, 11:10h. 

Last updated on: November 17, 2023, 11:10h.

Chicago Bulls All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine has been the subject of trade rumors over the last three seasons, but the Bulls are currently fielding offers from multiple teams after a slow start.

Bulls Zach LaVine
Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves defends Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine during a game at the United Center last season. (Image: Getty)

Shams Charania from The Athletic reported that the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers are interested in acquiring LaVine in a trade.

There’s been increased openness from the organization and player about exploring a trade,” wrote Charania in a recent article.

LaVine, 28, began his seventh season in the NBA. Before the start of last season, the Bulls inked LaVine to a maximum contract extension that’s worth $215 million over five seasons.

Same Drama, Different Year

LaVine, forward DeMar DeRozan, and center Nikola Vucevic were all mentioned in rumors leading up to last year’s trade deadline. The Bulls had a fractured locker room, but they kept all three starters hoping they could fix their internal problems and make a playoff run.

The Bulls finished 40-42 last season, and qualified for the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. However, they were eliminated from the tournament failed to reach the playoffs.

Trade rumors persisted in the offseason, but the Bulls did not trade their stars. Head coach Billy Donovan attempted to revamp their isolation-heavy offense, which was the subject of strife in the previous season.

The regular season lasted one game before veterans called a “players only” meeting to air their grievances after a loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the season opener. Everyone reverted back to their old ways instead of running Donovan’s new offense.

The Bulls won two of their next three games after the meeting, but then lost four games in a row.

LaVine on Trade Rumors: “A Regular Wednesday”

The Orlando Magic edged out the Bulls by two points on Wednesday in Chicago, and the Bulls sunk to 4-8 on the season. The Bulls fell to fourth place in the Central Division, and they’re now ranked #12 in the Eastern Conference. Trade chatter intensified after the ugly loss.

I’ve had this news for three years,” LaVine told reporters. “It’s nothing new to me. This is a regular Wednesday.”

LaVine’s overall numbers are down across the board. He’s averaging 21.7 points and 3.0 assists per game, which is his lowest scoring and assists average in six seasons. He’s struggling to find his groove while shooting 40.7% from the floor and 33% from 3-point range.

During the best season of his career in 2020-21, LaVine averaged 27.4 points and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 50.7% from the field and a blistering 41.9% from 3-point land. That was also the last season before DeRozan joined the Bulls in a sign-and-trade with the San Antonio Spurs.

Meanwhile, DeRozan is also off to a slow start. He’s averaging 21.2 points per game, which is his lowest scoring average since the 2014-15 season. His shooting percentages are off in all three categories compared to last season.

LaVine or Caruso a Better Trade for the 76ers?

The 76ers need a shooting guard after they traded James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers. They’re short-handed in the wing department after Kelly Oubre was hit by a car last weekend.

The 76ers would have to give up three rotation players — Nic Batum, Robert Covington, and Marcus Morris Sr. — to make a viable salary match to acquire LaVine in a trade.

The Sixers like the depth they have now and the Bulls’ high-salary players may not be a fit,” said beat reporter John Clark from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

The 76ers are better off adding guard Alex Caruso in a trade with the Bulls. Caruso, the current sixth man on the Bulls, is an ideal 3-and-D type of player who would be a better fit with the 76ers than LaVine.

Caruso’s salary is $9.5 million this season, and he’s due $9.9 million next season. His contract offers the 76ers better financial flexibility versus LaVine’s max-contract in which he’s owed $43 million next season and $46 million in 2025-26.

The addition of Caruso would help the 76ers upgrade their perimeter defense, and they wouldn’t have to lose key reserves and spot starters like Batum and Covington.

LaVine Long Shots: Lakers, Heat

The Lakers would love to add a high-volume scorer like LaVine, but other teams can offer the Bulls a better trade package. The Bulls want guard Austin Reaves, but the Lakers said he’s off limits. The Lakers are willing to part ways with guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Rui Hachimura plus draft picks.

The Heat always get mentioned in rumors when an All-Star guard is on the trade block. Yet, Pat Riley and the Heat stand pat and avoid giving up draft capital and/or role players in pursuit of a headlines-grabbing trade. This happened last season during the trade deadline, and the Heat did not make any big moves and still managed to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the NBA Finals.

The Heat were the betting favorite to land All-Star point guard Damian Lillard in an offseason trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard requested a trade to the Heat, but negotiations broke down when the Trail Blazers asked for too much in return. The Trail Blazers traded Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, which seemed to come out of nowhere, but the Heat did not want to overpay for Lillard.

Despite all the chatter about LaVine to South Beach after guard Tyler Herro suffered an ankle injury, the Heat will continue to maintain a cautious approach on the trade market.

Betting the Bickering Bulls

The Indiana Pacers are the surprise team in the NBA this season, and they lead the league in scoring with 126.5 points per game. The Pacers (7-4) and Milwaukee Bucks (7-4) are tied for first place in the Central Division, yet the Pacers are only +1300 odds to win the division.

The Bucks recently lost sixth man Jae Crowder for two months while he recovers from abductor surgery, but the Bucks are still the consensus favorite at -230 odds to win Central Division title for a sixth season in a row. The Cleveland Cavs are +280 odds to win the Central Division, and the Bulls are a long shot +6500.

The Bulls are near the bottom of the futures board at +10000 odds to win the Eastern Conference. They’re also a long shot to win the 2023-24 NBA championship at +25000 odds.

The Bulls are 4-7-1 against the point spread this season. They host back-to-back home games on Friday and Saturday night. The Bulls are currently a -2 favorite against the Orlando Magic, who are still in town for a second game after beating the Bulls on Wednesday. The Heat visit the Windy City for two games inside of three days starting on Saturday.

The Bulls are +280 odds to make the playoffs, but a favorite at -390 odds to miss the postseason.

According to a prop bet by DraftKings, the Bulls are +180 odds to participate in the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament and finish the regular season between seventh and tenth place in their conference.

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