Live EventDave Portnoy And Big Ev Live Watch Along For Ohio State-MichiganWatch Now
BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND SALE: 20% Off the Barstool Store | New Collections & Limited Edition Hoodies, Crewnecks, T-Shirts, Hats, Jackets and MoreSHOP NOW

I Will Once Again Clarify My Position On Zach Lavine And Why I Said He Should Be Traded

NBA: Zach Lavine is an all-star

Charles Barkley: Zach Lavine is an elite offensive player

Barstool Chief: 

Now, I will admit that Lavine has been MUCH improved this year. I am not hater. I am not denying how good Lavine has been. I fully understand that he is the Bulls best player by a significant margin. He's a walking bucket. At some point numbers don't lie and Lavine putting 29, 5, and 5 is undeniable. Every night my mentions have something like this

It's just that…he's playing the best he possibly can as a ball dominant offensive wizard and the Bulls are middling along. They are a young team that is 14-16 at the time of this blog. Zach Lavine might score enough to get this team into the playoffs where the Bulls will promptly be swept. 

And that is the point of all of this. The NBA is nothing more than a handful of actual contenders and then the rest of the league is really just a bunch of speed bumps on the way to the conference finals. Middling along with an also-ran all-star is not where I want the Bulls to be. I want the Bulls to be actual contenders. I don't know when that will be, but my gut tells me that Zach Lavine won't be here when it happens. 

Lavine has one year on his deal after this one. At this point he's an absolute bargain $19.5M. Then what? He will be 27 years old and if he is scoring at this rate then guess what…he is getting a max deal. If he is good enough to get a max deal then the Bulls won't be bad enough to have the high lottery picks that they need in order to get to the top of the NBA. That is the worst place to be in the NBA. It's better to be bad than average. 

The only way the Bulls get where they want to be WITH Lavine is if they decide he's good enough to be the running mate with a truly elite player that they can lure via free agency or trading Coby, Lauri, Wendell, future picks, etc. I am not sure that works. It's something the Bulls have never been able to execute. They couldn't get Duncan or McGrady. They couldn't make the deal for Kobe. They couldn't get Wade/Bosh/Lebron when they had an MVP caliber Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. 

Right now with the young, home grown, guys it feels like the Bulls could max out at like a Portland Trail Blazers or Denver Nuggets level. Maybe win a round, have a competitive 2nd round. If you are cool with that then by all means…buy a Lavine all-star jersey. I'd rather try to really go for it. I enjoy watching Lavine. He's made the Bulls somewhat relevant in this town. I just don't think he's part of the long term solution to making the Bulls an elite team.