The Chicago Bulls want to trade Zach LaVine, but they aren't necessarily having a fire sale, according to NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson. While might be trying to poach DeMar DeRozan and/or Alex Caruso from the Bulls, they've been told that the front office, led by Arturas Karnisovas, would like to evaluate the team without LaVine before deciding what to do with everybody else.
From NBC Sports Chicago:
Only Zach LaVine and Coby White remain from the roster Karnisovas inherited, and trading LaVine is the main organizational focal point for now. In fact, league sources said that, at least for now, Karnisovas is responding to inquiries on other players by saying he wants to see what the roster looks like post-LaVine trade first.
Chicago is 5-14 on the season and ranks 26th in offense, 22nd in defense and 25th in net rating. The team has lost five straight games and eight of its last nine. Before Tuesday's 124-97 loss against the Boston Celtics, Karnisovas said, "We see what everyone is seeing and are just as frustrated," via the Chicago Tribune's Julia Poe. "We're disappointed, but I'm not running from it. It's my responsibility."
If there is a LaVine trade out there that could salvage the season, now would be a difficult time to make it. The guard, who will turn 29 in March, left the Celtics game in the third quarter because of right foot soreness and finished with two points on 1-for-9 shooting in 25 minutes. Last week, at the beginning of Chicago's road trip, LaVine missed a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with the same injury. In Boston, he told reporters that he's day-to-day going forward, and coach Billy Donovan said he didn't know whether or not LaVine would have to miss games. LaVine is listed as questionable for Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks, as are DeRozan (left ankle sprain) and Caruso (left toe strain).
LaVine is making $40.1 million this season, and he's owed $138 million over the three following years. Until Dec. 15, when most players who signed new contracts as free agents last summer will become eligible to be traded, it will be difficult for many prospective trade partners to put offers together.
It would be comparatively easy to make offers for Caruso, who is making $9.5 million this season and is owed $9.9 million in 2024-25, and would fit on any competitive team in the league. If the Bulls don't plan to bottom out, though, then they might still value him more than they value whatever other teams are offering in return. And even if they do plan to bottom out, they've apparently decided that moving LaVine is the first step.