The Chicago Bulls are reportedly trying to join the sweepstakes for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, throwing a curveball at the Miami Heat as they try to get a deal done for the sharpshooter.
However, the Blazers reportedly haven’t shown much interest in Bulls guard Zach LaVine, perhaps ruling out the possibility of the two-time All-Star landing with Portland.
“Multiple league sources indicated throughout the offseason that the Trail Blazers showed little interest in acquiring LaVine directly, mostly because he doesn’t match their rebuilding path and commitment to a young backcourt of Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons,” wrote Bulls insider K.C. Johnson.
If the Blazers truly do want to prioritize their future and give the keys to players like Henderson and Simons, it would make sense for them to avoid adding any major pieces to their backcourt.
LaVine, who has spent the last six seasons with the Bulls, is under contract through at least the 2025-26 season and has a player option for the 2026-27 campaign. He’ll make at least $40 million in each remaining year of his deal.
Last season, LaVine averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bulls have a lot of factors to weigh when it comes to potentially acquiring Lillard. Perhaps the biggest one is the possibility of Lillard simply requesting a trade to the Heat again if the Blazers send him somewhere else, like Chicago.
But the Bulls evidently want to get their hands on the seven-time All-Star. Lillard just had one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from deep.
The Heat would undoubtedly like the Lillard saga to come to an end, ideally with him landing in South Florida. The organization’s offseason has been significantly altered by the nature of the Lillard situation, and it’s unclear what Miami’s roster will look like when the 2023-24 campaign begins.
After making the NBA Finals last season, the Heat may be one piece away from getting over the hump, and the hope among many fans is that Lillard would do the trick. The 33-year-old himself is also looking to win a ring — the first of his NBA career — making the two sides a good fit in that regard.