Getty Zach LaVine
The current crop of Chicago Bulls is a flawed, but likable group led by Zach LaVine and Coby White. They are off to a 4-5 start after a tough loss on Wednesday night in Sacramento, but things appear to be looking up under new head coach Billy Donovan and a front office spearheaded by President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley.
While those of us who watch every game can see some strides being made, others look from the outside–and perhaps without bias–suggest trades that would break up the current core. One of those kinds of suggestions came through from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley. He suggested the Bulls make a huge trade sending LaVine away to a team for a young prospect and picks, and he specifically called out the New York Knicks as a possible suitor.
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Buckley Says Bulls Should Dump LaVine
Here is Buckley’s explanation for suggesting the Bulls “turn LaVine into future assets.”
After an overhaul of the front office and a coaching change from Jim Boylen to Billy Donovan, the Bulls sought to break away from their recently abysmal past (.310 winning percentage the past three seasons, second-worst in the Association). It’s not clear that’s taking place. In fact, Basketball-Reference’s simple rating system—which weighs average point differential and strength of schedule—was a bigger fan of last season’s squad (minus-4.00) than this year’s (minus-4.19). The front office inherited much of this roster, and it might have major doubts regarding how much is worth keeping. That seemingly starts right at the top, where leading scorer Zach LaVine is over his head and would benefit from moving down the offensive pecking order elsewhere. If a team would part with picks and a prospect for him—looking at you, New York Knicks—the Bulls’ new brass should pounce on the deal and continue the redesign of this franchise.
Knicks Don’t Have the Young Talent This Deal Requires
While LaVine would fit well with the Knicks as a scorer, and I’m not opposed to the Bulls moving him for the right deal, it’s difficult for me to see anyone currently on the Knicks roster that I’d love to have in Chicago.
The Knicks have started the season 5-3 and have won their last 3 contests.
Julius Randle has been fantastic leading the team in scoring and rebounding in the early going, but he has never been a needle-mover in his career.
Austin Rivers has provided some outstanding scoring off the bench. He’s occupying the same sixth-man role that others such as Nate Robinson and Aaron Brooks have provided for Tom Thibodeau teams in the past.
Still, he feels more like the kind of veteran that provides a contending team a serious weapon off the bench rather than someone you’d include in a trade for LaVine. Mitchell Robinson is as athletic as they come in regard to big men, but he seems to battle foul trouble on a nightly basis.
The team’s first-round pick in 2020, Obi Toppin is talented, out with a calf strain, but likely an untouchable.
The Knicks’ 2021 first-round picks could wind up in the late 20s as the LA Clippers can swap picks with New York–as long as the selection isn’t in the Top 4. To put it plainly, no one believes the Knicks are real contenders, and their assets aren’t a fit for where the Bulls are in their rebuilding process.
If the Bulls are going to move LaVine, it would appear to me that the trade partner shouldn’t be the Knicks.