LaVine expects to suit up for Bulls when injured foot heals
Injured Bulls guard Zach LaVine met with reporters Thursday to discuss his foot injury and extended absence, but he didn't shed much light on his future with the team.
He talked about different narratives being spun but didn't touch on which stories were incorrect. He also hasn't denied being interested in a trade from the Bulls.
"There's going to be different stories and narratives," LaVine said at the Advocate Center. "There's going to be off the court stuff that's going to be dealt with, but for me, as long as I'm here with a Bulls jersey on, I'm going to go out there and play as hard as I can for my teammates, continue to be the best player and team I can be, simple as that."
The most relevant news right now is LaVine being sidelined for another 3-4 weeks to rest his right foot injury. The two-time all-star said he'd just gotten a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection in the foot after a period of active rehab resulted in more soreness.
Any team interested in trading for LaVine would probably want to see proof he's healthy. If anything, this news probably ensures LaVine will be back on the court with the Bulls at some point.
A report surfaced on Nov. 14 about both the Bulls and LaVine being open to a trade. The team responded by losing seven of the next eight games, while the effort level and body language took a clear downturn.
With LaVine sidelined by the foot injury, the Bulls won three in a row and will try to make it four Friday in San Antonio. Teammates have continued to support LaVine in postgame comments, but it's impossible to ignore how the team's effort level improved when LaVine wasn't on the court.
"I'm happy for the team," LaVine said. "If I'm not happy for the team, that would be saying something about me. We're in a spot that early we weren't looking very good. Whatever may have sparked it, if it was me off the court, that's a narrative that people want to run with. But we've won three games and I'm happy for it."
This win streak provided hope the Bulls might get back to .500 eventually, but the schedule will be imposing. Next week, the Bulls play at Milwaukee, Denver at home, go to Miami for two games, then visit Philadelphia.
As far as LaVine's future, the trade news wouldn't have surfaced unless someone wanted it public. His agent Rich Paul also represents LeBron James and Anthony Davis, so it's logical to think the goal is for LaVine to end up on the Lakers.
Neither side is facing any urgency, though. The Lakers are off to a good start and the Bulls' improved play buys time to wait for the right deal.
The parameters for a trade are another variable. The Lakers might say, "We'll take LaVine, but you also have to include Alex Caruso." The Bulls would likely prefer a deal that helps free up some cap space down the road. D'Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince for LaVine would be the best value. Maybe another team might be willing to include more expiring contracts.
However this turns out, expect everything to stay on hold while LaVine rehabs the foot injury.
"I think this three-game win streak shows what we were trying to do in training camp, what we were working on," LaVine said. "Whenever I get back out there, it's not hard to implement myself into something we've been working on all summer."