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Bulls reportedly testing the waters of a Zach LaVine trade

2023 Play-In Tournament - Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 12: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls warms up before the 2023 Play-In Tournament against the Toronto Raptors on April 12, 2023 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls are stuck in the middle — 40-42 and the No. 10 seed this past season — with a roster they are largely locked into. The Bulls are not a threat to any team near the top of the East, but they aren’t a rebuilding team either. They have a core of Zach LaVine (locked in on a max contract), 34-year-old DeMar DeRozan, the degenerative knees of Lonzo Ball, and a decision about what they should offer free agent Nikola Vucevic.

Which has led the front office to consider shaking things up and testing the Zach LaVine trade waters, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

The Chicago Bulls who have started contacting teams, quietly gauging the trade interest in Zach LaVine, league sources told Yahoo Sports. It remains to be seen just how willing Chicago is to part ways with LaVine, or if it receives a commensurate offer for his services. LaVine has four seasons remaining on his five-year, $215 million contract, and multiple teams have indicated the Bulls are holding a steep valuation for LaVine — one that’s likely to exceed what Washington can ultimately net for Beal.

LaVine’s future was one of the hot topics around the NBA Draft Combine, so this isn’t out of nowhere. However, the question becomes are the Bulls really serious about a trade? Every front office gauges the market for players it has no intention in trading — it’s just smart to know that value and how a player is perceived around the league. This could be the Bulls doing exactly that. Or maybe the front office has realized it’s time to overhaul the roster and take the ship in a new direction.

Even if they realize it, the report suggests the asking price for LaVine is very high, possibly higher than other teams are willing to pay. LaVine did average 24.8 points a game last season with a 60.7 true shooting percentage — he is a walking bucket. He doesn’t check a ton of other boxes, however.

The suggestion that LaVine could draw a bigger trade package than Beal is not crazy: LaVine is two years younger, puts up a similar number of points (neither guy plays much defense), LaVine is owed $30 million less guaranteed over the next four years, and most importantly LaVine doesn’t have a no-trade clause giving the Bulls more options (and the team that trades for LaVine will have more options).

Is there a team willing to give up a big package of picks and younger players for LaVine? That seems a long shot, although teams that miss out on Beal may kick the tires on a LaVine trade. Of course, if those GMs think the price for LaVine is too high, they will just walk away.

LaVine is likely a Bull at the start of next season, but expect the LaVine rumors to keep coming.