Since losing to the Boston Celtics on November 28th the Bulls have gone 8-4. That is when Zach LaVine last played. Since then Coby White has been getting more playing time.
In the twelve games before and including that Celtics game White scored an average of 15 points per game while playing an average of 32 minutes per game. While LaVine has been out he has been averaging 24 points per game while playing an average 39 minutes per game. There are three veterans who are helping White improve as he is being given more playing time happen to include two guys in Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.
It has been reported since the middle of October that the Lakers want to trade for Caruso and DeRozan. Those rumors and the play on the court before LaVine’s injury had many, including me, believing very strongly that management was ready to move on from the core four and trade all three of them.
Ten short days ago it was rumored that for many reasons management was forcing LaVine to sit out on the injured list including the fact that he is supposedly a cancer in the locker room. However, I do not think the Bulls President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas works in that ill fated fashion. I also do not think LaVine is a cancer in the locker room because he has been on the bench clearly rooting for his teammates in a very public fashion.
Has LaVine played his last game as a Bull? It is definitely possible he has. However, if Vucevic Caruso, and DeRozan keep lifting White up and helping him improve it could make it harder for management to trade LaVine especially when we consider the fact that most of the rumors have two of them going to the same team together.
Here’s the thing folks: Arturas and General Manager Marc Eversley are going to do what is best for the team in this years playoff race. Therefore, with DeRozan hitting the open market after this season I think it is more likely the Bulls try to pair him and Caruso while keeping LaVine who is under contract for two more years. There is also a high chance they simply trade DeRozan and call it a day; this would be very similar to what they did last year when they traded for Patrick Williams.
With that… that the trade rumors heat up again over the next two to three weeks before LaVine returns.
If you cannot play with them, then root for them.