K.C. Johnson on Bulls: 'I would see a Zach LaVine trade as just a retool, not a rebuild'


(670 The Score) Once again, Bulls star guard Zach LaVine has landed in trade speculation.

This time, it surfaced Tuesday afternoon, with news breaking that both LaVine and the Bulls are increasingly open to a trade that would ship him out of Chicago, Shams Charania of the Athletic reported. The development came as LaVine has struggled individually in the Bulls’ ugly 4-7 start, with frustrations rising for all parties involved, and opposing teams are already checking in on LaVine’s availability on the trade market, according to the report.

If the Bulls do indeed trade LaVine, what will the move represent for them moving forward? Perhaps not what many would expect it to signal, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago told the Mully & Haugh Show on Wednesday morning.

“Let’s say they do pull off a Zach LaVine trade,” Johnson said. “I’m in the minority here, probably – I don’t think that means widespread changes and complete teardown. And here’s why. This regime inherited a rebuild when they took over for John (Paxson) and Gar (Forman in 2020). And they immediately cashed out of it. They were like, ‘We don’t like this, this isn’t working for us.’ And every move they’ve made since the Nikola Vucevic (in 2021) trade on has been, ‘Let’s get relevant, let’s get in the playoffs, let’s win.’ So I would see a Zach LaVine trade used as a retool. They’ve already re-signed Vooch. They’ve re-signed Coby (White). They’ve re-signed Ayo (Dosunmu). DeMar is up after this year. I would not be surprised if they ultimately try to hit on a team-friendly extension. I would see a Zach LaVine trade as just a retool, not a rebuild.”

LaVine, 28, is in the second season of a five-year, $215-million contract. He’s off to a poor start this season, averaging 21.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 40.9% overall and 30.9% from 3-point range. LaVine’s scoring average and his efficiency are well below his career averages. He's a two-time All-Star who has averaged at least 24.8 points per game across each of the past four seasons. LaVine is a 38.2% 3-point shooter on high volume for his NBA career.

The Lakers, 76ers and Heat are three teams that are expected to be interested in LaVine, the Athletic reported.

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