NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Zach LaVine Trade, Knicks, Warriors' Draft Plans

Jake RillSenior Writer IOctober 24, 2020

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) drives against New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

By going 22-43 during the 2019-20 season, the Chicago Bulls missed out on the playoffs for the third straight year. More than that, they have failed to make the postseason in four of the past five seasons and haven't won a playoff series since 2015.

But there have been some major changes in Chicago since the Bulls played their last game in March. Arturas Karnisovas is now the executive vice president of basketball operations. Marc Eversley is now the general manager. And Billy Donovan is now the head coach.

However, roster changes could be on the way before the 2020-21 season gets started. And perhaps no bigger decision needs to be made than whether the Bulls should continue to build around shooting guard Zach LaVine. Is there a chance they could trade him? K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago hasn't heard much about that at this point.

"Currently, there are no indications they are pursuing this avenue," Johnson recently wrote. "However, LaVine is extension eligible this offseason and has two seasons remaining on a deal he largely has outperformed. Whether or not he's the core piece to build around surely must be an internal conversation that's been held."

The 25-year-old has improved in each of his first six NBA seasons (three of which have been with the Bulls after spending his first three with the Minnesota Timberwolves). This past season, he averaged a career-high 25.5 points in 60 games.

If Chicago decides to field trade offers for LaVine, it may have some interesting deals to consider. But if the Bulls keep him, he's likely to be a strong player for them again as they try to get back to the playoffs.

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Knicks Interested in Drafting Hayes?

There's been a lot of speculation about the New York Knicks wanting to take point guard LaMelo Ball in the 2020 NBA draft, and Ball could have interest in playing for them. However, there's one problem for the Knicks: They won't be on the clock until the No. 8 pick, and Ball is likely to be off the board by then.

Unless New York trades up, it's unlikely Ball will be heading there. But that doesn't mean the Knicks won't be able to add a strong point guard with their first-round selection of Nov. 18's draft.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, French point guard Killian Hayes has a "narrow edge" as the No. 2 point guard on New York's draft board behind Ball. However, Berman also noted that it's not a guarantee the Knicks would draft Hayes if he's available at No. 8 because there's a chance they address a different position.

"The Knicks had gone into last season with an eye on drafting a point guard of the future, but they are not stuck on that idea since president Leon Rose took charge in March," Berman wrote. "For instance, if forward Obi Toppin falls to No. 8, they certainly would pounce. Small forward Isaac Okoro also has intrigue."

There's plenty of time for New York to weigh its options. And before the draft, it will also have the opportunity to work out top prospects. Berman reported that Hayes has agreed to do a limited number of in-person workouts and that the Knicks "probably will be granted an audience."

After missing the playoffs each of the past seven seasons, New York will be desperate to get back on track. That's why it's important it makes the right decision with its top draft pick and get a player who can help lead the team back to success.


What Would Warriors Do if They Trade Down?

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Many analysts think the Golden State Warriors might consider trading down in the 2020 NBA draft. They hold the No. 2 pick, but there are no clear-cut top prospects in this year's class. Still, there are a lot of players for Golden State to consider, no matter where it ends up picking.

What might the Warriors do if they trade down to the mid-to-late lottery range? According to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle, Golden State would "strongly consider" taking Villanova forward Saddiq Bey. Letourneau reports that the Warriors are "much higher on him than most other teams are."

Bey may not be among the top tier of prospects on most experts' draft boards, but he is expected to be a first-round pick. The 21-year-old spent two seasons at Villanova, and this past year, he averaged 16.1 points in 31 games and shot 47.7 percent from the floor for the Wildcats.

With guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson expected to be healthy next season, the Warriors could have a quick turnaround and get back to being a top playoff contender. So it wouldn't be surprising to see them draft a player they believe could make an immediate impact, and perhaps that's what they see in Bey.

Of course, if the Warriors want to move down and draft Bey, they would need to find a trade partner. It would be interesting to see which teams have interest (and the necessary assets) to move up to No. 2.