Can The Bulls Win A Lavine Trade?

lavine_closer_look_thumb(credit NBC Sports Chicago)

Ian Begley of SNY sports reported earlier that the Knicks and Nets have looked into the idea of trading for Zach Lavine if he were to become available. And while this may never happen, the idea of trading Lavine is an interesting one. It may or may not be the best direction for the Bulls, but as far as optics it is a likely no win situation. The Bulls 3 years ago were in a somewhat similar situation with Jimmy Butler.

On June 22, 2017 the Bulls traded 3 time All Star Jimmy Butler and their 2017 16th overall pick to the Timberwolves for their 2017 7th overall pick, Kris Dunn, and Zach Lavine. The value of Butler allowed the Bulls to move up 9 spots in 2017 draft while getting two former lottery picks Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine. At the time Jimmy Butler had two years remaining on his contract.

Zach Lavine, who so far has no All-Star appearances, also has 2 years left on his contract. Lavine’s contract is worth 18% of the current projected salary cap, Butler’s at the time was worth 19% of the salary cap. Both contracts were respectively on “bargain deals”, Butler more so than Lavine. Lavine a borderline All-Star is on a nice deal as well though. But clearly Butler is the better player, and would demand more in return. While there are two different front offices negotiating these deals in different markets, you can at least get an idea of what a player on Butler’s level will get you. And understand Lavine will likely get you less.

The new rumor of the Knicks and Nets brings an interesting perspective. The two respective teams are in two totally different situations, as one is rebuilding and the other when healthy is a top playoff team in their conference. The two teams give you an interesting perspective on what those two types of teams would be willing, and could offer.

hi-res-624f0152e3c51169223338d2db3a6ad9_crop_north(credit Bleacher Report)

The Knicks are a rebuilding team. Draft pick wise, they have all their picks like most rebuilding teams do. And have either high lottery pick type players like RJ Barrett, or players like Mitchell Robinson who have exceeded their draft position. There are also players like Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr who are former lottery picks still trying to find their way. A team like the Knicks is similar to a team like the Timberwolves who traded for Butler. A young team looking to find a more established player to put around their young core. Difference is though Lavine isn’t as good. Realistically players like Barrett and Robinson would be off limits. A rebuilding team is going to value their ymore controlled talented young players versus trading for a player like Lavine who can leave in 2 years and arguably wouldn’t be worth their value. It would likely include expiring contracts, Knox/Smith type talent, and draft picks. Maybe like the Butler trade, you can move up in 2020 draft? Based on current lottery odds that wouldn’t be much though with the Knicks but something to keep in mind if that opportunity were to better itself.

The Nets are a good example of a contending team. It goes without saying, but their better players are off limits. You know, the Durants and the Irvings. Contending teams will look to trade rotational level talent with upside. Caris LeVert? Spencer Dinwiddie? Jarret Allen? And most don’t have draft picks with high potential. Ideally turning rotational players into a more dynamic talent would be the ideal scenario for a contending team that lacks draft compensation.

What would a potential trade between both teams look like?

Chicago Trades: Zach Lavine,

Brooklyn Trades: Caris LeVert, Jarret Allen

or

Chicago Trades: Zach Lavine,

New York Knicks Trade: Bobby Portis(salary filler), Dennis Smith Jr, Kevin Knox, future lottery protected 1st

hi-res-f46c98b963268475a8fee9f3645ffb4b_crop_north(credit Bleacher Report)

I think either trade from an optics point of view, would not sell(though I like the Nets offer a lot if they could do that). And I don’t see a trade that would end up much different with another team than these in terms of value. The biggest issue is the Bulls are trading arguably their best asset to a team that won’t value Lavine the same way. And while perhaps there is one GM out there that does, the likely hood of that is slim. And maybe the optics shouldn’t matter, but would it be a trade that would turn the pressure up on the new Chicago Bulls front office right away. At least from the fans perspective. Especially if they kept a certain coach around over Lavine. Clearly the results moving forward would be all that would matter but until then a lot of fans will be frustratingly waiting. But I guess what’s new?

 

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