NBA Rumors: Bulls gauged Zach LaVine trade market over summer
This could be the final rodeo for the current Chicago Bulls core. Nikola Vucevic admitted as much in a recent interview with Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports. Speaking from the FIBA World Cup with his home nation of Montenegro across his chest, the 32-year-old center was surprisingly candid about the Bulls' situation.
"We know we can do better, and we have to do better,” Vucevic said. “And we know it’s kind of our last chance as this core of guys to do something."
He's not wrong. The Bulls finished last season in the No. 10 seed and were eliminated in the final play-in game by the Miami Heat. Lonzo Ball's persistent knee issues hang over the franchise like a dark cloud, DeMar DeRozan's contract expires at season's end, and Patrick Williams is due a sizable contract in the near future.
If the Bulls finish another season below .500 and far removed from the contenders circle, it will be difficult for the front office to justify running it back. It's frankly past time for Chicago to rebuild, and it would appear that the front office considered such a manuever over the summer.
Chicago "checked the temperature" on the Zach LaVine trade market this offseason, per Fischer. LaVine has roughly four years and $178 million left on his contract entering his age-29 season. The former dunk contest champ averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on .485/.375/.848 splits in 2022-23. He's the best player on the team. A LaVine trade would signal a definitive pivot away from the organization's present set of goals.
Even with that doozy of a contract, several teams should have interest in LaVine depending on the price tag. If the Bulls' season goes sideways, don't be surprised if the LaVine market heats up considerably ahead of February's trade deadline.