Zach LaVine is unbothered by Philadelphia 76ers rumors: ‘Trades are just part of the business,’ the Chicago Bulls guard says

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine landed back in the NBA trade rumor mill after the Philadelphia 76ers’ blockbuster trade of James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Within hours of the Harden deal being reported late Monday, LaVine’s name popped up in “early chatter” as a trade target for the 76ers, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.

LaVine would give the 76ers a scoring and playmaking threat to help replace Harden in the backcourt. And the 76ers have stocked up on future draft picks that could make for a tempting offer if the Bulls front office decides to rebuild.

But after a shootaround in Dallas ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks, LaVine said he has received no communication from the Bulls front office about a potential trade and feels confident in his role in Chicago.

“I’ve been traded before,” LaVine told the Tribune. “Trades are just part of the business and guys get shuffled around every year. I’ve been in trade talks since I’ve been here for some reason.

“I feel like I’ve held up my end of the bargain in my commitment to the Bulls, but there’s not a lot you can do with rumors and people putting your name in trade talks.”

LaVine noted that every trade is different. Some players have the opportunity to collaborate with the front office and their agent on a trade; for instance, Harden’s move to Los Angeles was coordinated through a long, drawn-out ordeal between the 76ers front office and the three-time scoring champion’s camp.

But that hasn’t been the case for LaVine. His trade to the Bulls in 2017 came as a shock.

LaVine was fresh off his third season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite being in recovery from ACL surgery, he felt good about his performance after averaging a then-career-high 18.9 points. He received no indication from the Timberwolves front office that a trade was possible heading into draft night — until his then-agent, Billy Duff, called him minutes before the No. 16 pick went in.

LaVine learned he had been traded to the Bulls with Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen — whom the Timberwolves had selected at No. 7 — in exchange for Jimmy Butler and No. 16 pick Justin Patton. He didn’t have the chance to talk with his teammates or Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor until after the trade went through.

“I was completely blindsided,” LaVine said. “You have to learn the business really fast early on in the NBA.”

LaVine said he tries not to think often about the possibility of being traded by the Bulls. He also feels assured they would provide upfront communication before making a major move.

“I feel like I’m in a good situation now where, if anything were to happen, they would let me know,” he said. “I have good communication with them and my agent.

“But there’s been stars traded before, high-level guys, who didn’t know about it as well. You’ve just got to hope you have a good relationship — or at least you have a heads up for the family.”

LaVine feels he has proved his commitment to the Bulls, but he also has been realistic throughout the start of the season. This is the third year of a roster built around the trio of DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević and LaVine — and the seventh season featuring LaVine as the face of the team. During that span, the Bulls have made the playoffs only once.

It’s clear to LaVine that if things don’t change this season, the Bulls front office will be forced to make roster moves. But in the short term, he’s focused on getting the offense off the ground — and not on trade buzz.

“You take it with a grain of salt,” he said. “It doesn’t affect me because at this point I’m in my 10th year. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before. It’s unbothering to me.”


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