A Zach LaVine injury update all but confirms his time in Chicago is over
Wednesday night the Bulls provided an injury update on Zach LaVine. This new information likely means Zach LaVine has played his last minutes as a Chicago Bull.
Injury Update: Zach LaVine will require an additional estimated 3-4 weeks to treat his current right foot inflammation.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 7, 2023
LaVine and the Bulls have run out of patience with each other
Free agents that signed in the offseason will be able to be traded come December 15th. This makes Zach LaVine’s new injury prognosis significant because he wont return until weeks after that date. He could be traded before he is cleared to play.
LaVine has had a tumultuous time with the Bulls dating back to last season. He made it known he was at odds with coaches and ownership last season. He believed they did not see eye to eye on his position in the organization. That is when the trade rumors started.
Last offseason, the Bulls shopped Zach LaVine. They asked around the league if any teams were interested in trading for LaVine. At the time the Bulls did not get any trade offers they liked enough to move on from LaVine.
Then LaVine broke the relationship even more when he pushed a Bulls PR person after a game. He has made it clear that he wants to be out of Chicago. The owners have sent a similar message back at LaVine, especially after the PR person incident.
The trade market for Zach LaVine is almost non-existent, so who would take him?
Zach LaVine has been connected to the Lakers, 76ers and Heat in trade rumors since the start of this season. About a week ago it was reported that the trade market for LaVine has fizzled out. Adrian Wojnarowski reported that teams were looking for LaVine to prove that he can provide impact to help a team win. His foot injury was a big reason for the dampening of the trade talk.
Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale wrote an article detailing some mock trades he sees as possible. One of the said trades included sending LaVine to Toronto. Below is the trade that Favale thinks is a realistic deal for LaVine.
Chicago Bulls Receive: Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher, Gradey Dick, Gary Trent Jr., 2026 first-round pick (top-eight protection; turns into two seconds if not conveyed), 2028 first-round pick (top-eight protection; turns into two seconds if not conveyed)
Toronto Raptors Receive: Zach LaVine, Terry Taylor
Favale then goes on to explain why this trade works for the Bulls.
“Exiting any trade with two firsts, a recent lottery pick and a smattering of short-term contracts is a win for the Bulls at this point. LaVine has not set the world on fire with his play or demeanor, and the balance of his contract (three years, $138 million; 2026-27 player option) verges on prohibitive even with the prospect of a rising salary cap.”
“This return also insulates Chicago against a full teardown. Granted, it should absolutely go the start-over route. But we know better than to presume one. Boucher, Dick and GTJ all help stretch the floor around DeMar DeRozan while beefing up depth across the 2-3-4 slots. The Achiuwa experience is not nearly as tantalizing as it was 18 months ago, but the Bulls can experiment with some frisky, turbocharged frontcourt setups that feature him (or Boucher) at the 5.”
The trade makes sense for Toronto too. LaVine is a danger from the arc and would fit well alongside Pascal Siakam and Scotty Barnes.
Looking back on the Zach LaVine era
LaVine has played good offensive basketball in Chicago. His defense has left a lot to be desired and his attitude has been questionable more than a few times. The LaVine experiment should only be seen as a disappointment. The Bulls invested a lot of money and draft capital into the current roster. Ideally the Vucevic, DeRozan and LaVine trio would have challenged for a championship, that did not happen.
Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick were famously traded for Jimmy Butler. While Butler didn’t amount to a whole lot in Minnesota, he has gone on to lead the Miami Heat to 2 NBA Finals appearances. The Bulls saw what Butler could become but decided not to wait and get LaVine instead.
The LaVine era ended on about the worst note it could, for Zach LaVine anyway. The Bulls have won there last 3 games and have put together a win streak for the first time this season. The beat a contending Bucks team and a strong pelicans team. The offense has been much more team oriented and smooth. The defense has looked better at times too without LaVine on the court.
It is almost certain that LaVine will be traded at this point. The question is where and when, it seems like both parties would like it to be sooner than later. Regardless, Zach LaVine will be added to the list of Bulls experiments that didn’t pan out.
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