Bulls Finally Accept Reality with Zach LaVine in Trade Talks

The Chicago Bulls front office finally acknowledges the dire situation they are in with Zach LaVine this offseason.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls have a number of important decisions they need to make this offseason. DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams are both free agents and whether the Bulls should break the bank for either or both of them is up for debate. The biggest elephant in the room, however, is the future of Zach LaVine.

The 29-year-old shooting guard struggled last season, only appearing in 25 games and seeing his numbers go down across the board. His efficiency took a hit, only making 34.9% of his threes and averaging 19.5 points per game, his lowest number in six seasons. He underwent foot surgery in February and missed the rest of the season.

What makes the LaVine situation so difficult is the fact that he is on a massive, multi-year contract. He is due $43 million for the 2024-25 season and has one more guaranteed season left after that. He also has a player option for $49 million for the 2026-27 season.

This makes him a tough trade asset. It's hard to find a team that would trade that as a positive-value contract. Therefore, the Bulls have struggled to find a trade partner so far. However, according to Bulls insider K.C. Johnson, Chicago finally lowered their price for LaVine.

"I do get the sense both sides are motivated to make something work this offseason. I don’t think the Bulls will take an awful deal if little materializes, but I do get the sense they’re open to more possibilities than before."

K.C. Johnson, NBC Sports Chicago

This is good news for Bulls fans. LaVine was at risk of being untradeable if Chicago maintained their high asking price. At this point, the Bulls should be fine with getting out of that contract without having to attach more assets to it. If they can get matching salary that is younger or a better fit in Chicago, they should seriously consider that.

Where the Bulls are as a franchise right now, it doesn't make sense to keep paying LaVine the exorbitant salary he is owed. This is especially pointless given the Bulls' financials. They are already overpaying Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic, and they will have to pay Patrick Williams this summer. Also having LaVine on the books caps your ceiling and limits your financial flexibility. It's time to get out of that burden.

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