At some point during the 2023-24 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls are going to make a trade. While it is certainly possible that they keep their core group together and attempt to make a playoff push, it's more likely than not that either Zach LaVine or DeMar DeRozan will be traded given the direction of the organization. The New York Knicks are a team that have been in the market for a superstar talent for quite some time, hence their connection to the Bulls in recent NBA trade rumors.
Whereas the Bulls are currently 8-14 on the season, the Knicks find themselves at 12-8 after their 24-point defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks during the NBA In-Season Tournament. If anything is clear after this loss, it is that New York needs to find more talent on offense, specifically a star who they can lean on for production late in games. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson are great players, but it is hard to imagine either of them being the No. 1 option on a championship-contending roster.
Could this possibly lead the Knicks to targeting either LaVine or DeRozan ahead of February's trade deadline?
As things stand right now, it is looking unlikely that either Bulls All-Star will end up in a Knicks uniform this season. According to SNY's Ian Begley, the Knicks haven't engaged in any advanced talks with the Bulls for any of their players. There is no word as to if New York has discussed the idea of pursuing one of Chicago's players internally.
Pursuing a trade for LaVine would be difficult for the Knicks to do. The All-Star guard is set to make roughly $178 million over the course of the next four seasons, including this year, and he does have an opt out clause for the 2026-27 season, a year in which he is scheduled to make just south of $50 million in total. The Knicks, who are already paying Brunson, Randle, and RJ Barrett a combined $78.3 million this season, would have a hard time finding a way to acquire LaVine.
A trade for DeRozan would be a lot more feasible for the Knicks, as the veteran swingman is in the final year of his contract and making $28.6 million. If the Knicks were to trade for DeRozan, they would likely want him to commit long-term and sign an extension.
However, if there is any player from the Bulls that the Knicks should consider pursuing, it is Alex Caruso. Given his hard-nosed style of play on defense and ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, Caruso could be the perfect type of guard to compliment Brunson in head coach Tom Thibodeau's system.