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Zach LaVine has historically been adamant that any trade rumors have not come from his camp. He has said that he wants to be a part of the Chicago Bulls and that’s why he signed a deal to stay.
But since Tuesday’s report that both the Bulls and LaVine have become open to a trade, his tune has changed.
LaVine did not deny that the “agreement between both parties” is coming from his camp during his first media availability session.
“That’s why I have representatives like Rich Paul,” LaVine said on Wednesday. “If he speaks on my behalf, that’s my agent. That’s who I obviously have my camp with. They talk to Arturas and them. My job is to go out here and play. Simple as that.”
We all know the Bulls have shopped LaVine around without success dating back to last year’s trade deadline. If both parties are now in agreement and the Bulls side has already been seeking out trade partners, that means this must be coming from his camp.
LaVine declined to comment on whether there was a list of teams he would like to be sent to, and instead suggested he would discuss that topic if and when that becomes news.
“If we need to talk about that at a time, you know … right now is not that time to really talk about that,” he said. “We play the Orlando Magic tonight, try and get a win. If something comes obviously out later on that will be the time I talk about it.’’
Maybe it’s a surprise that this has been put into the ether only 11 games into the season. Maybe it’s surprising that it took seven years of losing basketball to get to this point. Whether it’s the 4-7 record to start the year or one Playoff appearance in his tenure with the Bulls, the frustration with losing has finally boiled over.
And that’s why we are where we are.
“If you’re in a winning situation, a lot of rumors and trade things don’t come up,” LaVine said.
Perhaps this situation is still salvageable. If the Bulls’ shooting efficiency goes from the bottom three where it has been to middle-of-the-pack as it was the year prior, maybe the wins start piling up.
But maybe the situation has gotten to this point because this isn’t just a one-year issue.
“It’s an upsetting thing when we’ve been trying to do the right thing for the last three or four years. It seems like we’re in the same place,” he continued.
Still, don’t expect this situation to resolve itself any time in the immediate future. Most free agents who signed with teams over the summer won’t be eligible to be traded for another month. For those who re-signed with their own teams using bird rights, and received a pay increase of over 20 percent, they won’t be trade eligible until January 15.
For now, the Bulls have to continue to go out there and play and LaVine does not believe the rumors/request will bleed into his or the team’s performance. He will continue to show up to work every day and play to the best of his ability.
“If I don’t have any beliefs, there’s no reason for me to go out there and play,” he said. “As long as I put that Chicago Bulls jersey on, I’m going out there to win and play my heart out.”
A typical line from LaVine. But it hits a bit different knowing a trade is on the way.
It certainly feels like the end is near.
“My time has been great,” LaVine said. “I don’t take anything for granted. My time here has been nothing but wonderful. I’ve grown up here. I’ve raised a family here. Had some great memories. Hopefully, people understand that, how much I care about Chicago.”
The Bulls should be viewing this as an opportunity to right the ship and set course for a better future.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see what becomes available before the Bulls can pick a direction.
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