Zach LaVine Trade Rumors: Bulls SG, Patrick Williams Viewed as 'Untouchables'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, left, shoots as Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

It appears Zach LaVine isn't going anywhere. 

ESPN's Tim Bontemps reported Tuesday that the Chicago Bulls are expected to push for a playoff berth and executives around the league believe LaVine and Patrick Williams are the two players Chicago wouldn't even consider trading:

"In fact, executives think the Bulls would even consider improvements to push to make the playoffs for the first time since trading Jimmy Butler four years ago, and referenced coach Billy Donovan's decision to bench Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr. in favor of Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young for Sunday's win over the Toronto Raptors as proof.

"'They're clearly trying to win when they are benching those two young guys,' said a West executive. 'Patrick Williams and Zach [LaVine], I'd think, are untouchables. Otherwise, they're open.'"

LaVine, 26, is having a career year, averaging 28.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.0 steal per game, shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from deep. Outside the steals, every one of those marks is a career high. 

He was a first-time All-Star this year and has the Bulls at 17-20, ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are in excellent position to at least qualify for a play-in tournament berth, given to the Nos. 7-10 seeds in each conference starting this season. That will make the Bulls far less likely to be sellers and should make LaVine off limits. 

Likewise, the 19-year-old Williams has shown real promise in his rookie season, averaging 10.2 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from three. He's started 36 games for the Bulls, emerging as a key building block alongside Wendell Carter Jr. and Coby White. 

Williams' strong rookie season has made the future of Lauri Markkanen unclear. The talented power forward is set to become a restricted free agent following the season, and if Chicago isn't willing to spend to keep him, he could be expendable before the March 25 deadline.

"I think they'd trade Markkanen if they get a good offer, but I don't think they're likely to trade him," an Eastern Conference executive told Bontemps. "I don't think they do anything unless they get something they love."