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It Sure Sounds Like Zach LaVine Wants To Find A New Team

When it comes to Zach LaVine, a couple things are true

1. He is one of the most offensively gifted players in the entire league

2. His defense is a disaster and has always been a disaster

3. He hates his coach

You also get the sense that he fancies himself to be in the same group as a lot of the other young star wings in the league, which offensively he for sure is. I mean this dude can score

But it's no accident that whatever team he's been on hasn't exactly been in the business of winning games. Part of that isn't his fault, we're talking about MIN and then a rebuilding CHI team, but as the best player he has to own his role in that underachievement. Here's the thing though, we're talking about the East. The Bulls do have a collection of good young prospects with Baby Dirk, Coby White, Otto Porter Jr, Wendell Carter Jr etc. It didn't exactly translate this year seeing as how the Bulls had the 29th ranked offense, but their defense wasn't terrible (13th) and again this is a young roster and that shit takes time to win at the NBA level.

To me, the problem is their coach. How the organization is siding with Jim Boylen over the clear displeasure of their best players is beyond me. Especially when you have guys like Kenny Atkinson still out there. But instead we get rumors like this

Seems to me like you keep your good young players and get rid of the coach that clearly isn't working but to be fair I'm not a basketball executive. As we know there are teams out there that are looking to add that third star (BKN for example) so let's look at what LaVine's contract situation is. 

After this season he'll have two more years at $19.5M before hitting UFA in 2022. That's actually not that crazy a price for a guy who was top 15 in scoring. Usually those contracts are in the mid 20s. If you're BKN, do you maybe try and flip LeVert/Jarrett Allen for LaVine? He's only 24, and while he would have to adjust to being the third guy in BKN that would certainly be an interesting option. What makes it tough is that any team that would be considered a contender that's in the Giannis market isn't going to blow their space on LaVine so that does limit the Bulls options. The good news is they don't have to be in a rush to flip him since he can't hit the market for two more seasons. They'll eventually have to trade him because no chance he signs another deal in CHI if they keep losing, but they have all the leverage right now. 

There are also rumors that the Knicks are kicking around the idea of LaVine, and if his issue is that he hates losing I'm not sure how he would enjoy playing for the Knicks. They also don't exactly have the contracts to make the money work unless the Bulls are interested in Julius Randle. 

The big question with LaVine is what kind of player is he really. Is he just a guy that puts up huge numbers on bad teams because he's the only option? Or is he actually really good and could be the perfect piece for a contender that already is good on defense and just needs additional scoring help. I don't think he's a #1 or even a #2 on a title team, but as a third guy? That intrigues me. 

If it's me, I don't trade him just yet and instead get him a coach that actually knows what the hell he's doing. It's not like it will take much for this team to contend in the East as long as they stay healthy, and it's not as if 24 year old elite scorers grow on trees. The Bulls have a new front office so who knows what direction they go, but my guess would be trading your best player for like 75 cents on the dollar when you technically don't have to wouldn't be the best idea.