3 Zach LaVine trades that would benefit Bulls and their trade partners

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Zach Lavine, Tari Eason (Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Zach Lavine, Tari Eason (Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

No. 1 Bulls Zach LaVine trade: Rockets for Kevin Porter Jr.

The Houston Rockets are primed to make extremely rash and ill-advised decisions this summer in order to speed up their rebuild. New head coach Ime Udoka arrived with a general understanding that the team was ready to take the next step forward.

James Harden has been the primary offseason target tied to Houston, for obvious reasons. The connection between Harden and the city is strong and he can certainly appreciate the finer points of living in Houston. The Rockets likely envision Harden as a bridge connecting the present to the future; maybe they don’t contend, but he’s a genius playmaker who can teach young teammates winning habits while putting them in a better position to succeed offensively. It’s the Tyrese Maxey playbook from Philly.

That said, the odds of Harden returning to Houston appear to be slipping. If the Rockets really want a star and can’t get Harden, maybe their attention turns elsewhere to a player like LaVine. He’s extremely affordable due to the aforementioned contract and injury concerns, but he is absolutely talented enough to lift Houston out of the NBA basement (how far out is another question).

LaVine and Jalen Green would form the most athletic backcourt in the NBA. Throw Cam Whitmore or Amen Thompson into the mix with the No. 4 pick, and the Rockets are going to single-handedly populate the dunk contest during All-Star weekend. LaVine would give the Rockets another dose of rim pressure and 3-point shooting out of the backcourt. He has also vastly improved as a playmaker in recent years; Houston would put his chops to the test by essentially handing him the reigns offensively. Sengun-LaVine is a fun combo to theorize about in two-man actions.

For Chicago, it’s simple: Get out from under LaVine’s contract, get a couple of interesting pieces in Kevin Porter Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate, and get into the 2023 NBA Draft mix. Porter oozes talent but there are questions about his ability to play winning basketball. Billy Donovan is a good coach to get him focused on the details. Tate is more of a veteran stopgap who could potentially get flipped to a contender for more assets down the line.

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