The Chicago Bulls are already in the middle of a season that’s quickly going off the rails, but it seems the situation has gotten even worse. According to the Athletics Shams Charania, Bulls superstar Zach LaVine and the organization are not on the same page. Not only that but he’s also had on-court issues with fellow star DeMar DeRozan.
“The Bulls have held multiple team meetings to try to work out their issues, and that has included one-on-one, face-to-face sitdowns between DeRozan and LaVine,” Charania said.
Not only that but LaVine has apparently had disagreements with other teammates.
That may help explain why the Bulls are 1-6 in their last seven games and are just 12-18 thus far this season. Their ugly start has led to rumors that they may blow it up and trade five-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan and two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic. Now, it seems that LaVine could soon become available, given his issues with teammates and the team.
Could the Chicago Bulls trade Zach LaVine?
This past offseason, LaVine was re-signed to a 5-year max contract, which prevents him from being traded until January 15th, 2023. There’s still time between now and then for LaVine and the Bulls to get on the same page and for the Bulls to right the ship. However, if they can’t, then they may have to make some tough decisions.
If the team is stuck in a tailspin and well below 500 in mid-January, they will have to decide whether to tank by trading DeRozan and Vucevic, in hopes of keeping their draft pick. The Orlando Magic currently own the Bulls’ pick, but it is top-four protected, and keeping that selection should be their top priority.
Given how tightly packed the NBA’s worst teams are, this is easier said than done. Currently, there are seven teams that are projected by five-thirty-eight to finish with at least 50 losses. That’s a lot of terrible teams, and the Bulls would have to outmaneuver at least four of them to give themselves the best shot at keeping their pick and landing the first or second pick.
That’s doable, but they are in an odd position where they have too much talent to really tank. The worst thing they can do is not pick a direction. After all, it could cost them a lottery pick, and they’d essentially be stuck with the same team and be in the same situation that they are in now. Worse still, the trades that netted them Vucevic and DeRozan depleted them of their assets, and the only way they can replenish them is by moving on from those players while they still have value.
Overall, LaVine may be partly to blame for the Bulls’ struggles, and the team is short on time or options to turn their season around. As a result, don’t be surprised if Chicago is active ahead of the February trade deadline.