Zach LaVine Rumors: Mavs Viewed as Sign-and-Trade Option for Bulls Star Free Agent

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2022

Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine argues a call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
AP Photo/Ron Schwane

The Dallas Mavericks reportedly may have interest in pursuing guard Zach LaVine via a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, LaVine may have "more interest in leaving Chicago than initially presumed," which has resulted in several teams emerging as candidates to acquire him in a sign-and-trade deal.

Stein named the Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs as teams believed to be in the mix for LaVine, and noted that sources believe the Mavericks are weighing the possibility of making the move as well since the Mavs are "intent on finding at least one more All-Star-caliber player" to complement superstar guard Luka Doncic.

The 27-year-old LaVine is set to hit free agency this offseason, which comes at a perfect time since he has turned in the four best seasons of his career during his four-year stint with the Bulls.

LaVine was named an All-Star for the first time during the 2020-21 season when he set career highs with 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.4 three-pointers made per game, plus he was part of the United States basketball team that won a gold medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics during the summer of 2021.

While his numbers weren't quite as good this season, LaVine still averaged 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 three-pointers made per game en route to leading the Bulls to their first playoff berth since 2017.

It was widely expected that the Bulls would re-sign LaVine, and although that could still happen, the fact that he is about to hit free agency means he is in play for the entire league.

Dallas would perhaps be the perfect landing spot for LaVine, as it would allow him to be Doncic's running mate and instantly put him in position to vie for a championship.

Even without a second star this season, the Mavs made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Golden State Warriors in five games.

The Mavericks likely wouldn't be able to make signing LaVine in free agency work from a salary cap perspective, but a sign-and-trade would open the door for them to acquire him.

One possible consequence of a LaVine sign-and-trade would be the departure of guard Jalen Brunson, however.

Brunson broke out for the Mavs in a big way during the postseason, averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game as the No. 2 offensive option behind Doncic.

Brunson is set to hit free agency this offseason, and if the Mavs make a play for someone like LaVine, retaining Brunson could be highly difficult.