5. Zach LaVine
Do you remember who faced the aforementioned Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference play-in last season? Yes, the Chicago Bulls. This cannot be a coincidence.
Let’s make one thing clear: being in the play-in zone doesn’t necessarily mean a team is doing something wrong. A regular season plagued by injuries might send a contender there. As for promising squads, it can also mean you’re progressing — see the Memphis Grizzlies. But the red lights needs to be on when this spot seems like your aging roster’s ceiling.
DeMar DeRozan has recently turned 34 and on an expiring contract, while Nikola Vucevic will be 33 by the end of October. Neither will yield a strong haul of assets in a trade if the Bulls were to decide to rebuild. That leaves us with Zach LaVine.
LaVine might not be the go-to guy on a championship team, but he’s still one of the best scoring guards in the NBA. At 28 and under contract for the next four years for $215 million, he could be a valuable piece to multiple teams.
According to The Athletic, the New York Knicks tried to engage with Chicago over a possible LaVine trade, but backed down due to a “giant” asking price. However, if it gets to the point that the Bulls are clearly restarting, a reasonable deal might arrive at their front office, and LaVine would ultimately find a new place to show off his scoring ability.
Potential destinations: New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat