Could the Philadelphia 76ers pry Zach LaVine away from Chicago?

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Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) dribbles the ball during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The offseason is in full swing with trade demands, trade “requests,” and trade rumors at a high while the Summer League in Las Vegas takes place. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard finally requested a trade not long after the Philadelphia 76ers‘ own James Harden requested a trade. With the Clippers rumored to be the likely landing spot for Harden and potentially an interested party in Lillard, like the Sixers, the trade market is at a standstill until those dominoes fall.

Is Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine on the market?

Zach LaVine
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) lays up the ball past Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Randall Benton)

Chicago Bulls all-star Zach Lavine’s name has also been in the rumor mill, and most recently, he has been linked to the Philadelphia 76ers. Chicago Bulls Insider K.C. Johnson recently reported:

“The LaVine trade chatter isn’t going away. In fact, a league source said that LaVine has landed in preliminary conversations with both the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trailblazers, who are working with James Harden and Damian Lillard, respectively, to find new homes.”

Could the Sixers make a play for Zach LaVine and find Harden a new home? Will they still make a move for LaVine if they can somehow convince Harden to stay?

It takes three to tango

With the Clippers and James Harden having mutual interest and the Sixers having some interest in getting a star in return, could the 76ers, Clippers, and Bulls work out a three-team deal? It has already been reported that the Clippers are not interested in trading Paul George to the Sixers and want to build a big three with Harden, George, and Kawhi Leonard. If that is the case, maybe the 76ers can re-route the assets they receive to the Bulls in exchange for Zach LaVine.

Zach LaVine
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 08: Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) brings the ball up court during a NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Chicago Bulls on April 8, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

Sixers receive:
Zach LaVine

Clippers receive:
James Harden
Danuel House Jr.

Bulls receive:
Marcus Morris Sr.
Nicolas Batum
Robert Covington
2028 first-round pick (from LA Clippers)
2029 pick swap (from Philadelphia)
2030 first-round pick (from LA Clippers)

In this scenario, the Philadelphia 76ers would receive an all-star in Zach LaVine in exchange for parting ways with Harden. The Bulls get some expiring contracts and future assets for LaVine to help kick-start their rebuild. Although they re-signed Nikola Vucevic this offseason, the core of Vucevic, LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan hasn’t made the Bulls a contender. DeMar DeRozan is also on an expiring contract, and this season could be his last in Chicago.

LaVine’s ability as a wing scorer and movement shooter could pair well with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. He would also add athleticism to the 76ers squad and be the most explosive co-star Embiid has had since he’s been in the league. This may be the best outcome for the Sixers if they want an all-star in return for James Harden, as he has recently reiterated his trade request to the 76ers front office.

Tobias Harris gets a new start

Zach LaVine
Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris (12) gestures after making a 3-point shot during the second half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets Saturday, April 22, 2023, in New York. The 76ers won 96-88. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

If the 76ers somehow get James Harden to stay, could they still try to upgrade the roster or run it back? There are conflicting stories regarding whether or not Harden would return for the season, but if he does, do the Sixers have enough to upgrade the roster? They could attempt to temp the Bulls with expiring contracts and some of their own future assets for Zach LaVine. A possible trade could look like the following:

Sixers receive:
Zach LaVine

Bulls receive:
Tobias Harris
Furkan Korkmaz
Jaden Springer
2028 pick swap
2029 second-round pick
2029 second-round pick (from Portland)
2030 first-round pick

The Sixers could roll out a lineup of Embiid, Maxey, Harden, and LaVine to stack the decks to increase their championship odds for this upcoming season. It could also be a nice backup to have an all-star to step up once Harden leaves in free agency after the upcoming season is over.

Harris could also get a fresh start before he hits free agency to show potential teams he can still be a major contributor. He would be the obvious second option next to DeRozan in Chicago and be able to play more freely on offense.

Ultimately, the Bulls asking price will be high for Zach LaVine, and if it doesn’t make sense for the Sixers, Daryl Morey will not make a move. Other dominoes will have to fall before a move like this is made, and hopefully, things will happen sooner rather than later.