The 2022-23 season has not gone as the Chicago Bulls may have hoped. Despite their most recent win against the Philadelphia 76ers, the team sits at an uninspiring 18-21. It’s not just the losing that has troubled Chicago this year, but also the constant drama surrounding guard Zach LaVine’s standing with the team.
On multiple occasions, rumors have come forward of LaVine and the Bulls not having what many would consider a strong working relationship. Back in November, LaVine spoke after a loss to the Orlando Magic, which he watched from the bench down the stretch in a controversial move by head coach Billy Donovan. LaVine was quoted saying: “He’s gotta lay with it. Do I agree with it? No. … You play a guy like me down the stretch. That’s what I do.”
Obviously, that statement does not scream “healthy relationship,” but that’s also not where the supposed unrest ends. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported last month that the player and team are not seeing eye to eye while also mentioning that there have been “multiple team meetings trying to work out their issues, and that has included one-on-one, face-to-face sit-downs between DeRozan and LaVine.”
All of this has continued to build, leading to Michael Scotto’s comments on a recent HoopsHype podcast episode in which he suggested the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Miami Heat could be among the teams interested. This brings up an interesting question:
If Zach LaVine is destined to be dealt, where would be his top landing spots?
While there are many teams that would no doubt be better with LaVine on the roster, there are still other factors to consider, such as the team’s timeline, the logistics of a team bringing in LaVine’s $215 million deal he signed this past offseason, and of course, the assets team has to offer have to offer.
LaVine would be fun on a team like the Charlotte Hornets, where he’d get to operate basically as he pleases, but they’re too far away from contention to bet it all on a player with questionable knees and roughly $200 million owed.
The Orlando Magic would be another surprisingly fun landing spot as the offensive potential of a team led by Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and, in this scenario, Zach LaVine would certainly be worth the price of admission and could even push for a playoff spot this season. The issue is, though, that LaVine does not make them a contender and would eat up the majority of what would otherwise be potential cap space this summer which could hit north of $40 million.
The Dallas Mavericks were mentioned specifically by Scotto, but they have their own issues, specifically a lack of assets. Thanks to a protected first-round pick owned by the Knicks, the next first-rounder the Mavericks can trade is not until 2027. Sure, after the upcoming draft this offseason — when the Knicks will likely officially make the pick — they will have more firsts available to trade. Between now and the deadline, however, they just don’t seem to have the bargaining power.
So again, what are Zach LaVine’s top landing spots? Well, now it’s time to take a look.