Knicks Trade Rumors: Bulls' Zach LaVine Being Monitored Ahead of Deadline

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2023

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 31: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls celebrates a basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at United Center on December 31, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks are reportedly exploring a trade for Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 9.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype appeared on The Ringer NBA Show and said the Knicks have been "monitoring" LaVine's status (h/t Jonathan Sherman of Ahn Fire Digital):

"They tried to get Donovan Mitchell. They've got their eyes on Zach LaVine. They're monitoring him, they're looking for the star that's going to become available, which I think is, of course, they're going to do that. But at the same time, from a negotiating standpoint, any team that's got a star that is willing to put them on the market and talk to the Knicks is going to try to squeeze them like an orange in Tropicana orange juice, you're going to get it all out with no pump. That's what you're going to want and the Rudy Gobert trade screwed up everything for everybody."

The Bulls have dropped two straight games and sit at 16-21, good for the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference. They're just 0.5 games out of the No. 10 spot and a play-in berth but have been one of the conference's most disappointing teams in 2022-23.

LaVine is in the midst of a largely disappointing season, posting averages of 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. It's the second straight year his scoring average has dipped from a career-high 27.4 in 2020-21.

That performance is not exactly befitting of a player who signed a five-year, $215.2 million contract last July. LaVine's impact as a player comes almost entirely on the offensive end of the floor. If he's not among the most prolific scorers in basketball, LaVine isn't going to come close to living up to his contract.

LaVine enters Tuesday's slate of games ranking 130th in win shares per 48 minutes, though he is more favorably viewed by ESPN's RPM metric, which ranks him 40th.

New York's interest in LaVine may depend heavily on the price point. If the Bulls are looking to land a deal similar to the Utah Jazz's haul for Donovan Mitchell, the Knicks should hang up the phone immediately. They weren't willing to meet the asking price for Mitchell, so it wouldn't make sense to load up the Brink's truck for a lesser player.

Adding LaVine at a discount should the Bulls decide they don't want to pay out his max contract should be the only way this deal gets any traction.