It may be time for the Chicago Bulls to end the Zach LaVine era.
There comes a time for every franchise where they have to take a look around their locker room and realize this just isn’t going to cut it. Sometimes there are easy fixes. Other times it requires something more drastic. The Chicago Bulls are at that point, and moving Zach LaVine must be done.
The Bulls have gotten off to a lackluster start to the 2023-24 season. So lackluster that it may or may not have garnered a players-only meeting after just the first game. The Zach LaVine trade rumors have also come early this season.
"“I’ve been traded before. Trades are just part of the business and guys get shuffled around every year,” said Lavine. “I feel like I’ve held up my end of the bargain in my commitment to the Bulls, but there’s not a lot you can do with rumors and people putting your name in trade talks,” according to Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune."
Following the 2020-21 season, the Bulls took a big swing by signing six-time all-star DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso to surround LaVine whom they acquired in the Jimmy Butler trade back in 2017.
A nice re-tooling for the 2021-22 season that had them as the number one seed in the eastern conference. At least until January when Lonzo Ball went down with a knee injury he has yet to return from. The Bulls would end up falling to the sixth seed and then a gentleman swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. They would miss the playoff entirely in 2023.
The Chicago Bulls need to rebuild and trade Zach LaVine
You have to give the Bulls credit for the old college try. With three all-star caliber players in LaVine, DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic plus a half-decent supporting cast, you would think that’d be enough to at least compete with the elite of the East. However, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
It’s hard to even blame Lavine for this. He’s simply not the superstar the Bulls would need to contend. Recent draft picks like Coby White and Patrick Williams haven’t been gems either, so it makes sense why the Bulls might be against settling for the luck of the draw that is the NBA draft. However, without the financial flexibility to attract big-name free agents, the Bulls have no other realistic choice.
The time has clearly passed and their window, if there ever was one, is completely shut and covered in plastic for the winter. It’s never easy and organizations seem to always hang on longer than they should, but Chicago needs to gauge LaVine’s value around the league and look to start over.
Recent reports suggest the Bulls will not entertain any LaVine trade inquiries but we’ll see if that changes as the season and the Bulls’ struggles continue. LaVine has been linked to the Knicks and Lakers in the past and more recently the Philadelphia 76ers following the trade of James Harden. Extension talks with DeRozan have stalled as well, and with his impending free agency at the end of the season, the Bulls need to consider the future of the team rather than game attendance and merch sales.