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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Jelani Scott

Why Bulls Are Struggling to Find Zach LaVine Trade Partner

With Zach Lavine’s name heavily involved in trade rumors, the Bulls star’s time with the team may soon be coming to an end. 

But the guard’s prospects of landing with a new team currently appear to be dire despite the ongoing speculation, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski addressed LaVine’s future in Chicago during ESPN’s NBA Today on Friday, where the senior NBA insider offered a brutally honest update on the injured veteran’s value in the trade market and the factors that could prevent a deal.

“There is not a market for Zach LaVine right now,” Wojnarowski told host Malika Andrews. “That’s not because Chicago has not tried to find it and aren’t currently trying to find it, it’s a combination of a few reasons: LaVine’s contract . . . his productivity . . . I think the question for teams is, ‘How much does Zach LaVine impact winning?’ Especially at the salary and with a new salary cap.”

As Woj noted, LaVine, who’s in his seventh season with the Bulls, represents a costly acquisition for any team considering he still has four years left on a five-year, $215 million extension he signed in July 2022. Couple that with his subpar play and Friday’s news that he will miss at least a week with a foot injury, and LaVine has the making of high risk talent to trade for.

With that in mind, however, Wojnarowski also shared his insight on what could happen to change the outlook surrounding LaVine, whom teams consider as more of a third option at this stage. And, while it may seem obvious, the possible solution would do both sides a world of favors. 

“I think, right now, for both LaVine and the Bulls to get a trade, he needs to start playing well. And I think impacting winning,” added Wojnarowski. “That’s certainly what teams are gonna want to see as they look at the value of trading for him.”

Currently sitting at 13th in the East, the Bulls (6–14) are heading down the wrong path, with vets like LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic likely candidates to be dealt some time soon. 

For now, though, LaVine’s case as a trade candidate could, clearly, use some work based on Friday’s report, which could give the former All-Star some motivation in his return as he looks to improve his season averages of 21 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game on 44.3/33.6/86.6 splits.

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