“I understand the business of basketball, but at the end of the day, anybody can get traded on any team and anybody can go anywhere just like injuries can happen to everybody,’’ the Bulls’ Zach LaVine said of trade rumors. | AP
LaVine has never seen the postseason since arriving in the NBA back in 2014, and if that didn’t bother him enough, he also knows the business of basketball makes almost every player expendable. Zach LaVine knows this business is fragile.
The Bulls guard also knows that this new-look front office and coaching staff isn’t really married to anyone on this roster not named Patrick Williams, and even the drafting of Williams fourth overall last month might come with a prenup.
Everyone is expendable after a 22-win season and a playoff drought.
So while LaVine was front and center during media day, just because he’s a Bull on Day 1 of the 2020-21 campaign, doesn’t mean he’s a Bull when this season has a final bow put on it.
“I understand the business of basketball, but at the end of the day, anybody can get traded on any team and anybody can go anywhere just like injuries can happen to everybody,’’ LaVine said, when asked about trade rumors surrounding him. “So, as long as I’m on this team, you know, I’m gonna continue to put my input and try to be a leader and show, you know, what type of guy I am and what my value is.
“And if something happens it happens, I understand that. I got traded here from Minnesota and I understand it. So it’s things that happen, but while you’re on this team you have to be all in. So I’ve been all in since the first day I’ve been here. I really like Chicago, but you know, if something were to happen, obviously I’m not a resentful person, I understand the business of basketball and I keep moving forward.’’
Good attitude to have, especially with numbers that are attractive for most teams.
Not only does LaVine have the offensive mindset to fall out of bed and score 20 points with little effort on most nights, but it’s his price tag that really makes him an asset.
Looking back on it now, the old Bulls regime got a discount on LaVine when they matched the offer sheet by the Kings back in 2018. As it stands the talented scorer has two years left on his current deal at $19.5 million each season.
LaVine would be a perfect third piece on a playoff team with championship aspirations.
As for his current team, well, he’s a foundation piece of a rebuild that has been wobbly for the last two years.
Go or stay, LaVine is hell-bent on changing the perception of him, and knows the only way that happens is on a playoff stage. By the way, a stage that LaVine has never stepped on since coming into the league back in 2014.
Think that bothers him? Dang right it does.
“It’s a lot,’’ LaVine said, when asked about his career-long playoff drought and how it wears on him. “When you put so much hard work in and, at least for me, I don’t do this to be a regular guy, I don’t take my body to exhaustion just to be a role player or something. I want to be great in this league, so to be great you have to make your team better and you have to go to playoffs and play winning games. And I haven’t gotten that part of my career yet and it sucks.
“And for somebody that wants to be at that caliber or that stage, being traded here [back in 2017] I wanted to bring the team back to the glory days and get toward that stature again, so you know, I work my ass off to get there and hopefully I continue to make the city proud, my family proud, and go out there and do what I have to do.’’
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