Bulls Rumors: Latest on Potential Zach LaVine Trade, Kemba Walker and More

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2020

Bulls Rumors: Latest on Potential Zach LaVine Trade, Kemba Walker and More

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    The Chicago Bulls didn't enter the 2020 offseason with any salary cap to speak of, but it is still a pivotal time as new vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley take over their first offseason. 

    The pair have had a couple of big decisions to make since taking office in the Windy City. The biggest of which might be what to do with the No. 4 pick in the draft. The two made a splash by springing the first surprise of draft night when they took Patrick Williams out of Florida State. 

    As usual, the post-draft rumors can give us a glimpse into the decision-making process and what's next for a franchise. That is especially true for the Williams pick as the rumor mill shows just how much the Bulls coveted their new forward, and they weren't the only ones. 

    Then there's the matter of Zach LaVine. The scoring guard has been at the center of trade speculation in the past. With the peak of player movement season in full effect, his name is once again getting churned out by the rumor mill. 

    Here's the latest draft night chatter and LaVine trade talk. 

Celtics Offered Kemba Walker for No. 4 Pick

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    If rumors are to be believed, the Bulls front office didn't just like Patrick Williams more than their other options on the draft board, they'd rather have him than Kemba Walker. 

    Zach Harper of The Athletic reported that Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was "trying to move Kemba Walker for a top-10 pick" and he specifically "dangled" him to Cleveland and Chicago, but neither were willing to take the deal. 

    Harper goes on to say the Celtics were hoping to get the pick so that it could be packaged in a deal to acquire Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans.

    This is one of those interesting tidbits that provides some insight into the front office's mindset. It would have been easy for a new group to make a move to bring in a veteran like Walker. He averaged 20.4 points and 4.8 assists last year and would have provided some leadership in the locker room. 

    But at 30 years old, he doesn't fit in with the youth movement the Bulls have going right now. It speaks to Everly and Karnisovas' patience if they did, in fact, turn down an offer to acquire Walker. 

Multiple Teams Tried to Trade Up for Patrick Williams

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    Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

    The Bulls were the first team to mess up a lot of mock drafts Wednesday. With Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu and Deni Avdija still available, the Bulls' decision to draft Williams was met with surprise by analysts and fans. 

    However, Harper's reporting would suggest that teams weren't surprised at all. According to The Athletic writer, "at least five teams, including the Spurs" were trying to trade up to get Williams. 

    That should be a positive sign for Bulls fans. The Spurs are obviously an organization that carries a great reputation for finding stars better than most. If their interest in Williams is real, that bodes well for his future. 

    Williams is certainly a raw prospect. He's only 19 years old and played a reserve role at Florida State. But at 6'8" and 225 pounds, he has an NBA body, athleticism and skill set that give him an extremely high ceiling. 

    Everly and Karnisovas are putting their stamp on the franchise with this selection, and given what they reportedly could have had by trading the pick, the pressure is on for Williams to live up to his enormous potential. 

Front Office Has Given 'No Indication' Zach LaVine Is Available

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Trade speculation is nothing new for Zach LaVine. It's a byproduct of being the best player on a bad team. The 25-year-old had his best season in 2020. He averaged 25.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.1 threes per game, but it didn't have much impact on the Bulls once again being an early lottery team. 

    At 25 years old LaVine is practically an elder statesman on this extremely young Bulls team. It would make sense to an extent that LaVine would be better suited on a contender and the Bulls would be better off continuing to pile up the young prospects. 

    However, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported that, while both LaVine and the Wizards Bradley Beal have been "hot names" among teams, "neither front office has given any indication either player is available." 

    While the Bulls might not be interested in dealing him at this point, it's clear a market has developed for him. 2020 could be a big season for LaVine and his future with the team. He has two seasons left on his current deal.

    If the team doesn't look markedly better this season, he may be a name that comes back up as the trade deadline approaches.