May 29, 2024

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra smiles at a question by a reporter during a news conference in Miami, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. The Miami Heat held their season-wrap up team meeting on Tuesday afternoon and one of the biggest questions is about the future of the roster. LeBron James could become a free agent in a couple of weeks and the four-time MVP says he still has not thought about his plans.(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Zach LaVine allegedly wants to be traded to the Lakers, Heat, or 76ers.

There is more heat on Zach LaVine trade rumors than genuine interest from teams in the two-time All-Star, who is averaging 22.6 points per game this season.

LaVine and his camp are ready to leave Chicago, and the Bulls are — finally! — willing to break up a core that hasn’t connected as well as they thought (at least since Lonzo Ball’s injury). According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, LaVine wants to join a contender.

According to league insiders, LaVine and his agent have several preferred landing locations, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers, and each team has expressed interest in the Bulls guard. According to reports, LaVine is also interested in joining the San Antonio Spurs to team up with rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama and rejoin with head coach Gregg Popovich, who oversaw the 2020 Team USA squad that LaVine helped earn a gold medal in Tokyo. According to reports, LaVine would be interested in joining several other contending scenarios, one of which is Sacramento. The Kings signed LaVine to an offer sheet during his restricted free agency in 2018, but this was before the current front office administration took over in Northern California.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Toronto Raptors are also interested in LaVine. They are not currently a contender and may not be a team LaVine is interested in, but with three years remaining on his contract, LaVine has very little leverage to negotiate a deal where he wants to go in this scenario.

While LaVine has a list of clubs interested in him, league sources informed NBC Sports that interest from those teams is still lukewarm. The 76ers are off to a quick 9-3 start, and while they may need to add a shot creator at some point this season to make a run, they want to watch how things play out before making any moves closer to the trade deadline.

In this regard, Philadelphia represents a number of teams: it may be more interested in DeMar DeRozan or Alex Caruso than LaVine.

Teams are concerned about LaVine’s contract: Teams would be on the hook for the remaining $40 million owed to him this season, as well as three more years at $138 million total (the last season is a player option). While LaVine delivers outstanding shot creation and 3-point shooting, he is a bad defender and is not regarded as having a well-rounded game. He’s an All-Star, but the team requires him to perform a specific role for him to prosper. Also, while he has been healthy this season and played 77 games last season, LaVine has had knee difficulties in the past, which teams are aware of.

In Miami’s scenario, it could pull together a trade centered around Tyler Herro, but the front office must decide whether LaVine is so much better than Herro that it’s worth bringing in a guy five years older who gets $13 million more each season. The Lakers, who can’t make a trade before December 15 (because to player availability), want to see how things play out, and any deal would have to be on their terms (which means a poor return for Chicago).

The Bulls may want to act sooner rather than later to avoid having a cloud of rumors hang over the organization, but the market may not cooperate. Any move is expected to take place after December 15 and closer to the February trade deadline, which means there is plenty of time for new rumors to surface.

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