Getty New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau coached Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine in Minnesota for one season.
According to The Athletic, Chicago Bulls star Zach Lavine, one of the New York Knicks’ trade targets, could move.
“…there has been increased openness from the organization and players about exploring a trade, league sources said,” Shams Charania and Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic reported on Tuesday, November 14.
The Bulls’ 4-7 start has caused management to reconsider their options.
LaVine is averaging 21.9 points, 3.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds to start the season. He has a five-year, $215 million contract as a sophomore.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks made contact with the Bulls last February before the trade deadline, but talks did not progress. Should they pull the trigger if LaVine actually becomes available?
It depends on the price.
NBC Sports Bulls insider KC Johnson reported in June that the asking price for LaVine was higher than what the Washington Wizards got for Bradley Beal.
“According to league sources, the Bulls value LaVine highly, as they should. He is a two-time All-Star who has averaged 24.8 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 60.7 percent after a season in which he endured a slow start.
A league source said the Bulls would focus on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler if they decide to trade LaVine. Another said a first-round pick and an established high-end player could be intriguing enough,” Johnson wrote.
On Tuesday, Johnson weighed in on the LaVine news on X (formerly Twitter) and asked if the Bulls’ asking price had dropped given their poor start.
Regarding LaVine, it was reported during the offseason that the Bulls had had exploratory discussions about him. Their offer price was high. The unanswerable question for now is: will this price decline given the bulls’ troubles? However, players are keenly aware that changes could be afoot if the situation does not improve
— KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 14, 2023
The Knicks have a stockpile of draft capital and intriguing young players, including Immanuel Quickley, who couldn’t come to terms with an extension with the Knicks in the offseason.
Bidding war for Zach Lavine
If LaVine becomes available, the Bulls will trigger a bidding war.
“Just because a player is open to moving doesn’t mean the Bulls are going to make a bad deal or move him just to move him. “After all, management was committed to returning to the playoffs with this group at the start of this season,” Johnson wrote Tuesday.
The Knicks have to compete with conference rival Philadelphia 76ers, who want to replace James Harden with another star to flank him in Joel Embiid and the up-and-coming Tyrese Maxey.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated mentioned LaVine and OG Anunoby, another trade target of the Knicks in the past, as names to keep an eye on in Philadelphia.
Some of the early conversations about names to keep an eye on in Philadelphia: Zach LaVine and OG Anunoby. LaVine is the type of scorer/ball handler the Sixers could use. Anunoby is the versatile defender Philly needs in the playoffs against Boston/MIL.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) October 31, 2023
The Sixers are now armed with two first-round draft picks, a pick swap and two second-round picks that are part of their haul from the Harden trade.
“One player removed”
The Knicks are currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference after falling to the Boston Celtics with a 114-98 loss on Monday night.
Former Knicks general manager Scott Perry believes “they’re just one player away.”
“And here’s why. I think they are one player away. A player who can come in – and doesn’t have to be a superstar player – a player who can generate some offense off the dribble to take some pressure off of Jalen Brunson, who also has to do that, or Julius Randle around it to do, or RJ Barrett,” Perry said on NBA Today on Tuesday.
Perry was part of the 2004 Detroit Pistons, who won the NBA title with a trade for Rasheed Wallace during the season.
“[The Pistons] were in a very similar situation to the Knicks currently. We were in the middle of it all. We were fourth or fifth in the Eastern Conference, we were a good basketball team, but we had to get over the slump,” Perry recalled of the Wallace trade.
A Detroit native, Perry was a front office executive under Joe Dumars during the Pistons’ improbable championship run in 2004.
“I think we are, perhaps the last team to take such a step in the season to win a title. I believe in the collective and think the Knicks have something depth-wise. So you add another player to the mix. “You don’t have to go the typical three-superstar route to make it,” Perry said.
Erle Almo is a basketball journalist who covers the New York Knicks and Golden State Warirors for Heavy. He has more than 15 years of experience in local and international media, including broadcast, print and digital. He previously covered the Knicks for Empire Sports Media and the NBA for Off the Glass. Alder is from the Philippines and now lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. More about Alder Almo
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