Since Michael Jordan retired and left the Chicago Bulls following the 1997-98 season and the rest of “The Last Dance” team fell apart, this franchise has not found a whole lot of success. There were flashes of championship potential in the Derrick Rose era, yet the Bulls made the Eastern Conference Finals just once in 2011 and they have not won a playoff series since 2015 despite having an All-Star trio of DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine.
While they did make the playoffs in 2022 after a four-year postseason drought, Chicago fell back to their losing ways this past season with a lackluster 40-42 record. Things have not been great for the Bulls in recent years despite having some big names on their roster, which is why many entered this offseason wondering if the organization would look to make a big move by trading one of their core talents.
In the final year of his contract, DeRozan seems like the most plausible option for Chicago to entertain trade offers for, yet LaVine has been the one to hear his name come up in trade rumors this offseason. One team that had been mentioned multiple times in connection to the Bulls' star was the New York Knicks.
Fresh off their first playoff series win since 2013, the Knicks have certainly proven that they can hang with the best of the best in the Eastern Conference. Adding one more star-like talent to their roster could be the difference in the Knicks taking the next step to becoming contenders, which is why LaVine was a player on their radar.
However, this never seemed like a real scenario, as Fred Katz from The Athletic reported recently that New York and Chicago “never got close” on a potential trade. The Knicks had been in contact with the Bulls regarding LaVine's status, but as Katz states, the asking price Chicago set on the two-time All-Star was “giant” and a price New York was not willing to meet.
Since joining the Bulls in 2017, LaVine has been one of the faces of the franchise and emerged as one of the better scoring swingmen in the entire league. In six seasons with the Bulls, LaVine has averaged 24.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and 38.6 percent from three-point range. He made the All-Star Game in back-to-back seasons in 2021 and 2022.
They own a lot of asset and future draft compensation, which is why the Knicks certainly have the ability to pull off a trade for a star like LaVine. Then again, the organization does not want to make a rushed decision and take themselves out of the running for a better star player that may become available down the road.
At some point, it seems like New York will be adding another big name to their roster and with the asking price for LaVine being outlandish, the Knicks decided to look in another direction this offseason. For the Bulls, they seem ready to run things back heading into the 2023-24 season, but it is not hard to believe that this could end up being LaVine's final year with the team.