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Zach LaVine: 'I'm Not Worried' About Bulls' Roster amid Trade Rumors, Struggles

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 06: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls drives past James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center on January 06, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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 Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Zach LaVine isn't going to sweat the series of rumors floating around the Chicago Bulls—even the ones involving himself.

"At our best, we showed what we can be last year [at this time]," LaVine said, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "We were the No. 1 team in the East. At our best, we're one of the best teams in the league.

"That's for them to decide [if the team becomes buyers]. ... I'm not worried about our roster."

The Bulls have won two straight against quality opponents (Sixers, Nets) but sit at 18-21 on the season. LaVine has underwhelmed for much of the campaign, averaging his fewest points (23.0) of the last half-decade, but he came alive in Friday's win over Philadelphia with a 41-point outing.

Chicago's middle-of-the-road record leaves the front office with an interesting decision on what direction to take the franchise. No one—particularly not fans in a major market—enjoys watching an also-ran. The Bulls are clearly in the NBA's no man's land at this juncture—too good to tank outright and too bad to seriously contend for a deep playoff run.

LaVine has been linked to trade rumors for much of the year, as has DeMar DeRozan. It does not appear any of those talks have gotten serious, and it's fair to wonder if the front office is treading water until the hopeful return of Lonzo Ball.

When Ball went down last season, the Bulls were one of the more pleasant surprises in the East and looked like a potential top-four seed. Ball has missed nearly a calendar year after undergoing surgery for a meniscus tear that was originally supposed to keep him out for six to eight weeks.

It's unlikely Ball's return would spark any sort of championship-caliber basketball from this roster, but the Bulls could return to the upper-echelon of the East and at least be competitive enough to justify keeping this core together.

That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to at least explore the idea of tearing things down.